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Drought Update: Rain Falls In All The Wrong Places

July 31, 2015

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist Daniel Eiblum

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Mother Nature can sometimes seem to have a twisted sense of logic when she decides to flood already drenched soils while at the same time drying up countryside that is already bone dry.

This week, Florida and southeastern Georgia were drenched with an additional two or more inches of rain in some spots. Scattered showers and thunderstorms across the rest of the Southeast gave some locations heavy downpours while others had no rainfall whatsoever.

At the same time, parched soils, low streams, and the risk of wildfires helped an extreme drought to tighten its grip on the Pacific Northwest.

Portions of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic received 1-to-2 inches of rain, with locally 3 or more inches, while other parts of the region received no rainfall at all. With temperatures averaging below normal, no change was made to the drought status in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic region. Spotty rainfall in the Carolinas prompted the expansion of both abnormally dry conditions and moderate drought in portions of those states.

Storms moving along cold fronts dropped areas of 2 or more inches of rain in the Northern and Central Plains and Midwest, with locally 4 or more inches, mostly in drought-free regions. But the storms largely missed the Great Lakes region. Hot and dry weather continued across parts of the Southern Plains, increasing evaporation and the risk of wildfires.

One highlight was the leftover moisture from Hurricane Dolores that brought above-normal precipitation to portions of California, Nevada, and Montana. While the rains in southern California during the past couple weeks have caused local flooding and inhibited wildfire development, reservoirs saw no increase in storage.

Looking ahead, monsoon showers and thunderstorms will bring rain to the Southwest through early August, while rains will moisten parts of the country east of the Rockies. A small amount of rain is forecast across the Southwest and into the southern and central Plains to the Northeast and parts of the Southeast. Portions of Florida are expected to get locally 4 or more inches, with possibly as much as 9 inches. It will be dry across most of northern California and the Pacific Northwest, as well as the Mid-Mississippi Valley, and into the Northern Rockies. Near-normal and cooler-than-normal temperatures will shift to the Great Lakes, while hotter-than-normal temperatures return to the Northwest and continue over the South.

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