This Week’s Drought Summary
Major Hurricane Ian made landfall in southwestern Florida on September 28 and then reemerged offshore of the Atlantic coast, with another landfall near Georgetown, South Carolina two days later. Excessive rainfall (more than 10 inches) caused widespread inland flooding throughout the central Florida Peninsula and heavy rainfall overspread the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic, and central Appalachians. After a mid-level low pressure system tracked inland from the northeastern Pacific and became stationary over the interior West, heavy precipitation (1 to 3 inches) occurred across northern Idaho along with the north-central Rockies. Therefore, improvements were made across much of the East and north-central Rockies. Conversely, a dry week resulted in an expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) along with intensifying drought conditions across much of the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley, and Midwest. D1 was added to parts of the Pacific Northwest. A mix of improvements and degradations were made to Hawaii, while Alaska and Puerto Rico remain drought-free.
Due to a very dry pattern during the past month along with periods of above-normal temperatures, a 1-category degradation was necessary for parts of the Ozarks, lower Mississippi Valley, western Gulf Coast, and southern Great Plains. 30-day precipitation deficits exceed 4 inches in eastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. Much of these areas along with interior portions of southeastern Texas have received less than 0.10 inch of rainfall during the past 30 days. 30-day SPI/SPEI along with NLDAS and NASA SPoRT soil moisture were the primary indicators used in depicting these degradations along with recommendations from regional partners. Low to dry ponds, poor pastures, and cattle selloffs continue to be major impacts for Arkansas and Oklahoma. Although moderate drought (D1) was added to southwestern Louisiana, a broader D1 coverage was not designated this week due to a strong wet signal at 60 days and lack of support from soil moisture indicators. A couple of small D1 areas were added to Tennessee (near Nashville and northeast of Chattanooga), based on SPI/SPEIs and declining soil moisture.