This Week’s Drought Summary: The highlight of the week was intense and destructive Hurricane Dorian, with sustained winds of 185 mph and a central pressure as low as 911 mbs. Fortunately for the U.S. (as of Sep. 4), Dorian never made landfall along the Southeastern coast; however, while a Category 5 hurricane, it stalled over the northern Bahamas, devastating the islands of Great Abaco and Grand Bahama. For the most part, Florida dodged a Dorian disaster as the hurricane remained stalled over the northern Bahamas, slowly weakened, and finally drifted northward by the period’s end. Some rain bands from Dorian dropped 1-4 inches along Florida’s east coast. Puerto Rico also missed a direct hit from Dorian as it was strengthening into a hurricane to its east, although scattered convection did bring the island some welcome rain. Elsewhere, a series of cold fronts dropped southeastward out of Canada, bringing subnormal temperatures to most of the Nation east of the Rockies, and helping to prevent Hurricane Dorian from tracking westward and making landfall in Florida. The fronts brought light to moderate rain to the northern Plains, upper Midwest, Great Lakes region, and Northeast, while clusters of storms dumped occasionally moderate to heavy (2-6 inches) rains on parts of the south-central Great Plains, lower Missouri Valley, and Southeast. The Southwest monsoon made a partial comeback, bringing light showers to portions of southern Arizona, most of New Mexico, and southwestern Texas, but overall has been a disappointment. The Far West, with high pressure in control, was mostly dry and warm. Light to moderate showers fell along southern coastal Alaska, but it was not enough for any improvement. Meanwhile, increased rainfall across southern sections of the Big Island aided vegetative growth and diminished deficits, thus improvement was shown.
South: While northeastern, southwestern, and southeastern Texas, most of Oklahoma, and northwestern Louisiana received widespread light to moderate rains (1 to 3 inches, locally to 6 inches), little or no rain fell on the Oklahoma Panhandle, southern and central Texas, northeastern Louisiana, and most of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Accordingly, a 1-category short-term deterioration was made in southern and central Texas, but improvement occurred in portions of central Oklahoma and northeastern Texas, including a 2-category improvement (D1 to nothing) where 3-6 inches of rain fell in the latter area. 7-day averaged USGS stream flows dipped below the tenth percentile (much below normal) in south-central Texas where D2 and D3 expanded. Although it was dry in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee, prior surplus rainfall has left the soil moisture in good shape for now. An exception was in extreme southeastern Tennessee where D0 and D1 increased.