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Drought Conditions in the High Plains Region-Update October 17

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Source/Author: Joseph Brum-High Plains Regional Climate Center 10/17/13

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, heavy precipitation fell again this week in the High Plains Region. Most of the rain fell in Nebraska, Wyoming and the Dakotas. This helped improve conditions dramatically in those areas.   

In the Region as a whole, all categories of drought continue to improve with the exception of extreme drought (D4), which continues to remain constant at 0.3% of the Region. The area of moderate drought (D1) or worse improved by another 5% this week, to total 29.51%. Another 2% improvement in area of severe drought (D2) occurred this week as well. The areas without drought or abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue to increase as well. Nearly half the Region, 45.14%, is free of any conditions, the largest percentage since May 15, 2012.

In North Dakota, widespread rainfall was able to alleviate all drought conditions and leave only 14.37% of the state in a D0 condition. In South Dakota, daily precipitation records were broken in the southeastern corner of the state. The area was removed from all conditions this week and most of the D1 area was upgraded to D0.

In Wyoming, rainfall helped upgrade pockets of D2 throughout the state. In eastern Wyoming along the Nebraska border D2 and D1 areas were upgrade one-category. In south-central Wyoming a pocket of D2 was also upgraded to D1 this week. All other areas of the state had conditions remain the same.

In Nebraska, most of the state saw widespread rainfall this past week. This helped conditions in the northeastern portion of the state and in the panhandle. An area of D2 was upgrade to D1 in northeast Nebraska and D1 was upgraded to D0. In the panhandle and west central Nebraska, an area of D3 was upgraded to D2 and a large portion of D2 was upgrade to D1. Only 4.76% of the state remains in D3 type conditions, this is the lowest is has been since July 17, 2012.

In western Colorado, an area of D1 was upgrade to D0, reducing the total area of D1 or worse in the State to 33.43%. All other categories remained the same as last week. In Kansas, there were only minor changes of a fraction of a percent in the D1 and D2 categories.  

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 (Unavailable with Government Shutdown): 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/DataArchive/Tables.aspx?high_plains

      Drought Condition (Percent Area): High Plains Region










 29.51 12.46


 38.88 61.12 34.37 14.62 2.46 0.30




 3.01 0.30
 09/24/2013 26.98 73.02 49.42 24.46 5.87 0.30
 09/17/2013 25.94 74.06


 25.19 7.47


 09/10/2013 21.79 78.21 62.27 38.13 15.63 2.16


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