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Drier conditions in Great Plains--Drought Monitor

12/02/2010 @ 9:35am

The U.S. got drier last week, according to a federal Drought Monitor released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Weather Service and National Drought Mitigation Center.

The agency report said 39.74% of the area in contiguous states in the U.S. is currently suffering from moisture deficiencies, representing an increase of 0.75 percentage point over the past week.

Eastern seaboard:

Two to five inches of rain fell on a small area along the upstate South Carolina/North Carolina border into extreme northeastern Georgia last week, although significantly drier conditions prevailed elsewhere.

The eastern slopes of the Appalachians also recorded 0.50 to 2.00 inches of precipitation, while only a few tenths of an inch fell from the Piedmont areas to the Atlantic Coast.

"As a result, dryness and drought remained unchanged in most areas, with some expansion of abnormally dry conditions into southeastern Virginia and eastern sections of the Carolinas," said weekly Drought Monitor author Rich Tinker.

Areas of southern Georgia and the western half of South Carolina have received 4-8 inches less precipitation than normal, during the last 90 days.

Florida:

Abnormally dry conditions expanded to cover most of Florida last week, amid a continued lack of rainfall.

"Severe to extreme drought now exists across eastern sections of the northern and eastern Panhandle," he said. "Over the last 90 days, parts of northeastern/east-central Florida recorded 8 to locally over 12 inches less precipitation than normal."

Central Gulf Coast:

Generally dry conditions were experienced in this area, although scattered rains of 2 to 4 inches reached central Louisiana, and southwestern Mississippi.

"Increasing precipitation deficits led to dryness and moderate drought expansion into the Louisiana Delta, but heavier precipitation led to some improvement farther north across central Louisiana and non-coastal southern Mississippi," said Tinker.

Ohio, Tennessee, and Lower Mississippi Valleys:

Widespread heavy precipitation induced significant relief for these areas.

"Widespread [rain] totals exceeding 5 inches were reported near the Ohio River in Indiana, and 3-5 inch amounts were common elsewhere," he said. "Sweeping [drought] reductions were introduced from northern Louisiana, central/northern Mississippi, and northwestern Alabama northward through eastern Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, most of Tennessee, central/eastern Kentucky, southern Illinois, central/southern Indiana, and much of Ohio.'

Only a few areas of moderate drought now exist across Indiana, and severe to locally extreme drought was substantially curtailed to cover only parts of western Kentucky/Tennessee, eastern/southern Arkansas, and northern Louisiana.

Southern and Central Plains:

Light to moderate precipitation fell on parts of eastern Texas and Oklahoma, while little or none fell elsewhere, last week.

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