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Drought Grips the Southern Plains

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Source/Author: Braedi Wickard - High Plains Regional Climate Center 08/04/11

U.S. Drought Monitor- August 2, 2011

Image © National Drought Mitigation Center

Year-to-date total precipitation for the High Plains Region

Image © High Plains Regional Climate Center

Year-to-date total precipitation departure from normal for the High Plains Region

Image © High Plains Regional Climate Center

Extreme heat associated with a strong upper level ridge crippled the Southern Plains this July causing persistent drought conditions in the region.  The latest release of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows an increase in area of exceptional drought (D4) in south central Kansas.  Other locations of persistent D4 drought conditions in the High Plains Region include southwestern Kansas and south central Colorado.  Extreme drought (D3) has also expanded into southwestern Kansas and persists in southeastern Colorado.  To learn more about the U.S. Drought Monitor, please see:  http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.

Along with record-setting temperatures across the region, this year’s lack of precipitation in the exceptional drought-stricken areas is comparable to that experienced in the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, or worse!  Dodge City, Kan broke the record for the driest January-July on record.  The station has only received about 4 inches of precipitation since the beginning of the year (period of record 1874-2011), beating the record set in 2002 when the station recorded 5.71 inches.  Two more stations in Kansas topped the charts for the driest January-July on record and include: Elkhart (period of record 1900-2011) and Ashland (period of record 1900-2011).  

 

Station

Year-to-date Precipitation

Rank

Old Record/Year

Period of Record

Ashland, KS

3.79

1

5.82/1966

1900-2011

Cimarron, KS

5.01

4

5.90/1966

1911-2011

Dodge City, KS

3.95

1

5.71/2002

1874-2011

Elkhart, KS

3.24

1

3.36/2002

1900-2011

Greensburg, KS

6.23

4

6.42/1964

1893-2011

Liberal, KS

6.15

5

6.18/1966

1893-2011

 

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