There’s bad news for much of the nation’s heartland – the so-called “flash drought” won’t be leaving as quickly as it began. In the latest “U.S. Drought Monitor” report, more than 50 percent of the Midwest is in varying levels of drought.
click image to zoomThe Drought Monitor report, released on Sept. 26, 2013. Drought in Iowa, especially the western half of the state, is slowly gaining momentum. Extreme drought returned to the nation’s leading corn- and soybean-producing state for the first time since April. More than 78 percent of the state is in moderate or worse drought.
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri aren’t far behind.
The “U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook” doesn’t see much improvement for much of the Corn Belt’s drought through the end of year, meaning for areas from Minnesota to Missouri won’t be free from drought in 2013.
Along the western edge of the Corn Belt, however, drought conditions are slightly more favorable. Just 11 percent of Nebraska is in extreme drought, down from 21 percent last week.
While few farmers are excited to see drought, the drought did help save the Cornhusker State from flooding. Historic floods in Colorado moved into Nebraska this week, but before major flooding could sweep over the fields, drought-stricken land soaked up some of the floodwaters.
These same floods that eliminated drought in north central Colorado bypassed much of the dry, southeast corner of the state. The worst of the drought currently persists in four counties in southeast Colorado, and it too is expected to persist into 2014.
Drought is keeping a firm grip on states further to the west. Little to no drought improvement was made this week in Idaho, Nevada, California and Oregon. Most of these states will also be seeing drought through the end of year.