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Drought Conditions in the High Plains Region-Update September 20

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Source/Author: Joseph Brum-High Plains Regional Climate Center 09/20/13


The main story this week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, is the abundant precipitation that fell in Colorado. Widespread totals of 6-12 inches fell, with upwards of 18 inches near Boulder, CO. These rains produced severe flash flooding, loss of life, and destruction of property and infrastructure. In other areas of the High Plains Region cooler temperatures and recent rains have improved drought conditions as well.  

In the Region as a whole, moderate drought (D1) or worse conditions improved this week by 8%, to total 54.27%. All other categories improved this week as well, area of severe drought (D2) conditions decreased by 13%, extreme drought (D3) conditions decreased by 8%, and only 0.3% of the Region remains in exceptional drought (D4).

Starting out in Colorado, nearly all of the state was upgraded one-category. The two main areas that didn’t see a one-category upgrade were in the southeastern portion and the northwestern corner. The area of D1 this week totals 64.59%, which is an almost 30% decrease from last week. The area of D3 that has been dominating the southeastern corner of the state was upgraded to D2 and D1. Although an area of D4 remains in the state it is only totaling an area of 1.47%.

In Kansas, all areas of D4 were upgraded one-category this week after beneficial rains fell in those areas. Also, the area of D3 that has had a strangle hold in the western third of Kansas has now been upgraded to D2. The abnormally dry (D0) conditions in the eastern third of the state were trimmed this week. As with Kansas, Nebraska saw the elimination of D4 conditions this week. In the panhandle conditions were upgraded with the trimming of D3 and D2. In southeastern Nebraska, D2 along I-80 was trimmed and the removal of D0 occurred near the Kansas border.

With cooler temperatures and recent rains the flash drought in North Dakota has eased. The area of D2 was upgraded this week along with about 10% of the D1 area. Rain from the same Colorado system tracked north into Wyoming providing one-category upgrades for the southeastern corner of the state. The area of D3 in the south-central portion of the state was upgraded to D2 and the area of D2 in the north-central portion was upgraded to D1.

Unfortunately South Dakota did not join in on the upgrades this week. South Dakota saw little rain this past week prompting a downgrade in the northeastern corner of the state from D1 to D2. Furthermore, a large area of D0 was reintroduced in southwestern South Dakota.  


To learn more about the U.S. Drought Monitor, please see: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu

To see the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, please see the Climate Prediction Center here:http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.html

To see the areas of agriculture affected by the drought, please see the USDA link: http://www.usda.gov/oce/weather/Drought/AgInDrought.pdf

To see the impacts of the drought, please see the Drought Impact Reporter here: http://droughtreporter.unl.edu/

Check out the table below for the drought conditions over the past month for the High Plains Region.

To view statistics of the High Plains Region and each state check out the Regional Statistics here: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_tables.htm?High_Plains

      Drought Condition (Percent Area): High Plains Region










 54.27 25.19


 21.79 78.21 62.27 38.13 15.63 2.16
 23.60 76.40 63.14


 16.25 2.16
 08/27/2013 21.61 78.39 64.04 39.00 16.58 2.05
 08/20/2013 27.30 72.70


 38.84 17.29


 08/13/2013 27.33 72.67 58.36 40.42 18.42 3.40

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