Southern and Central Plains: Another round of light to moderate precipitation fell on most of the southern and central Plains, continuing a pattern of near to above normal precipitation that started in mid-September. This was good news after Texas recorded the driest October-September period (12-months) on record (since 1895) in 2010-2011, with Oklahoma and New Mexico experiencing their second driest such period, Louisiana their third driest, and Kansas their tenth driest. In Texas, 1 to 3 inches of rain was recorded in southeastern sections, while 0.5 to 1 inch fell on east-central and northeastern sections. Farther north, 0.5 to 1.5 inches of precipitation occurred along the Kansas and Oklahoma border, while 0.3 to an inch was measured in the rest of Oklahoma and central and eastern Kansas. Combined with lower temperatures and declining evapotranspiration rates, a thorough reappraisal of Texas was made (courtesy of Texas A&M, Professor Neilsen-Gammon, and the short and long-term SPI blends), along with surrounding states. Accordingly, some 1-category improvements were made in eastern, south-central, southeastern, north-central, and northern Panhandle of Texas, in eastern Oklahoma, and along the Kansas-Oklahoma border. The Impact Lines were modified to reflect more of the impacts from long-term drought as short-term impacts have lessened recently. In Oklahoma, the run off from recent rains have filled Lakes Hugo (Choctaw County), Broken Bow (McCurtain County), and Wister (Leflore County). USGS stream flows bordering Arkansas are averaging 80 percent of normal or better. In contrast, lake levels remained essentially unchanged from last week elsewhere. Major soil moisture issues below the topsoil remained in west-central and northwestern areas. Lakes at Great Salt Plains (Alfalfa County), Fort Supply (Woodward County), Canton (Blaine County), Altus (Greer County), Tom Steed (Kiowa County), and Skiatook (Osage/Washington Counties) are down 40-80 percent with almost no recharge in the past month. Therefore, D3 and D4 remained in western and central Oklahoma.
Midwest and Northern Plains: A swath of moderate precipitation (1 to 2 inches) fell across north-central Missouri and into northwestern Illinois (and even larger totals to the east), effectively easing short-term drought (D1 and D0) by a category in this region. Most of northern Missouri is experiencing a top 10 historical wet November (150 to 200 percent of normal precipitation), resulting in adequate top soil moisture and no major impacts. The 30- and 60-day AHPS precipitation are now close to or above normal, with only some minor 90-day deficits left in the D0 of northern Missouri. In southeastern Missouri, 2 to 3 inches of rain erased the small area of D0. In southwestern sections of the state, the D1 edges were trimmed away, but kept where weekly precipitation was less than 0.5 inches. In western Illinois, although D0 was removed after 1 to 2 inches of rain, Lake Decatur in Macon County remained a concern as it was still below normal levels. In Iowa, 0.5 to 1 inch of precipitation in southeastern portions was enough to improve drought (D0 and D1) by a category, but drier weather over the rest of the state kept conditions status-quo. November has been a month of contrasts in Iowa, with Keokuk (in the southeast) recording 6.23 inches (third highest November total among 140 years of record), while Sioux Center (in the northwest) measuring only 0.03 inches (fourth lowest November in 105 years of records). In Minnesota and the Dakotas, an unseasonably dry autumn continued, with many areas of southern Minnesota (and bordering areas of South Dakota) ranking below the first percentile for precipitation. As a result, any area in this percentile was made at least D1. Farther north, D1 was added by the North Dakota and Minnesota border for the same reason, while D2 was expanded in northeastern Minnesota where 18 week departures exceeded 7 inches. The separate D0 area of southwestern North Dakota and northwestern South Dakota was expanded eastward and merged with the large D0 area as short-term conditions (at 30-, 60-, and 90-days) were essentially the same across southern North Dakota. Fortunately, the spring and summer months were relatively wet or conditions would be much worse now.