Weather Summary: Highly beneficial rain fell across the northern Plains and the upper Midwest, while hot, mostly dry weather depleted topsoil moisture and caused crop conditions to further decline in many areas from the central and southern Plains into the eastern Corn Belt. Short-term dryness also continued to expand into the central Gulf Coast States, despite heavy rainfall earlier in the spring. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Beryl formed on May 25 about 300 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina, and moved southwestward. Beryl made landfall just after midnight on Memorial Day, May 28, near Jacksonville Beach, Florida, then passed near Valdosta, Georgia, before turning toward the north and northeast. Before accelerating away from the coastal Carolinas on May 30, Beryl provided much-needed rain to drought-affected areas from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic coastal plain. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather prevailed in the West, except across the northern tier of the region.
The East: Rainfall associated with Tropical Storm Beryl brought significant drought relief to northern Florida and southeastern Georgia. A few storm totals in excess of 10 inches were noted in northern Florida’s former exceptional drought (D4) area, which improved to extreme drought (D3). In the Carolinas, much of Beryl’s rain fell on May 29-30 and will be reflected in next week’s Drought Monitor. Meanwhile, Beryl’s rains did not push far enough inland to benefit a core region of extreme to extreme to exceptional drought (D3 to D4) in Georgia and Alabama. Farther north, pockets of heavy showers in the Mid-Atlantic States led to further reductions in the coverage of abnormal dryness (D0).
The Mid-South: Topsoil moisture continued to rapidly decline under a hot, mostly dry weather regime, resulting in further development and expansion of abnormal dryness and moderate drought (D0 and D1). Abnormal dryness (D0) also expanded southward, to the central Gulf Coast. By May 27, topsoil moisture was mostly very short to short in Arkansas (82%) and Missouri (77%). Moisture was very short to short in more than half of the topsoil in Louisiana (56%), Mississippi (55%), and Tennessee (51%). During the week ending May 27, the portion of pastures rated in very poor to poor condition jumped at least 10 percentage points in Arkansas (from 23 to 39%) and Missouri (from 18 to 28%). Record-breaking heat affected portions of the region during the Memorial Day weekend, when Vichy-Rolla, Missouri (98°F on May 26), posted a monthly record high (previously, 95°F on May 15, 1899).