The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Short-term dryness led to an introduction of abnormally dry (DO) in eastern and northern Maine. Vermont, New Hampshire and eastern New York also shared in a slight reduction of D0 compared to last week. Moderate rains across a good portion of Pennsylvania led to 1-category improvements and this trend continued down into parts of northwestern Maryland, West Virginia and western Virginia. In the Carolinas, favorable rains improved the D1 along coastal South Carolina and led to a reduction of D0 in eastern North Carolina as well. Low streamflows and ground water levels have led to a slight expansion of D2 in the Delmarva Peninsula.
The Southeast: Good rains (3 to 5 inches) fell across most of Tennessee, and parts of central Alabama also shared in good rains last week, leading to widespread 1-category improvements this week. Alabama continues to be affected by the long-term nature of multi-year D2-D3 entrenched across the eastern half of the state. This pattern continues across the border into Georgia, which has not seen much rainfall of late either, leading to an expansion of D3 and D4 in north-central and northwestern locales.
The Midwest: Most of the region registered above-normal temperatures for the period ending Tuesday morning. In fact, preliminary data show that July came in at 5-10 degrees above normal for the month of July. The region continues to be impacted not only by oppressive heat, but also by depleted soil moisture, desiccated pastures and widespread crop damages, livestock culling and elevated fire risk. Recent concerns have now turned to soybeans and water supply as the drought’s duration persists. Some fared a bit better than others; southern Minnesota and southern and eastern Wisconsin benefitted the most from rains, leading to general 1-category improvements this week. Rains also fell across northern Indiana and southern Michigan, leaving things pretty much unchanged from last week. That said, there is a slight expansion of D3/D4 across western and central Indiana. Much of southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky also saw measurable improvement on the order of 1-category this week, pushing the drought to the west. Longer-term impacts still remain even given the short-term relief, but parts of eastern Kentucky and Ohio are seeing a rebound in streamflows, which is a good sign. In the western half of the region, things continue to worsen across Missouri and Arkansas, with continued deterioration and encroachment of D3 and even D4.