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Drought expands in parts of Iowa and Illinois, Drought Monitor reports

Drought conditions worsen in Kansas.

With little to no precipitation falling in a widespread area of the U.S., the month of February is off to a dry pattern, according to this week’s Drought Monitor Map.

From February 8-14, the most significant precipitation (more than 0.5 inch, liquid equivalent) was limited to the Cascades, Upper Mississippi Valley, northern New England, and the Florida Peninsula. 


“Increasing 90-day precipitation deficits and consistent with worsening 90- to 120-day Standard Precipitation Index (SPI) values supported an expansion of moderate drought across eastern Iowa and adjacent areas of northern Illinois and southwest Wisconsin. An increase in the coverage of severe drought was necessary across southern Wisconsin based on 90- to 120-day SPIs. To be consistent with SPIs at various time scales throughout the Great Lakes, D1 was added to parts of southwest Lower Michigan,” Drought Monitor officials stated in this week’s report.

High Plains

A moderate drought rating in central Kansas was degraded to severe drought and merged with the severe drought in southwest Kansas, based on 120-day SPI and soil moisture indicators. 

“Since a 1-category degradation was made the previous week across northern Kansas and eastern Nebraska, these areas remained status quo this week given the time of year when worsening conditions are slower to be realized in terms of impacts,” Drought Monitor officials stated.  

For Nebraska and South Dakota, recent dryness with a lack of snow cover and above-normal temperatures resulted in an increase of abnormal dryness and moderate drought.

“Drought impacts for South Dakota include many days of high fire danger, which is unusual during the winter, low stock ponds, and adverse conditions for recreational snowmobiling,” Drought Monitor officials stated. 

Conditions in the areas of northern and eastern North Dakota are rated as improving.

Drought monitor


Arkansas, Mississippi, and parts of Louisiana are seeing worsening drought conditions, based on 90-day SPI values and soil moisture indicators.

“Precipitation deficits of more than 8 inches are observed during the past 90 days across a broad area of the Lower Mississippi Valley,” Drought Monitor officials stated. 

Separately, Michael Anderson, U.S. Wheat Associates market analyst, says that the market is taking into consideration the drought concerns in the U.S. and around the world.

Global wheat production challenges fueled by drought have certainly driven this market in the past. And this month, USDA summarized its report this way: “The global wheat outlook for 2021/22 is for lower supplies, higher consumption, increased trade, and reduced ending stocks,” Anderson stated in a USW release.

The current wheat market is eyeing the major wheat exporting countries hurt by drought conditions. As a result, many of the top wheat exporters are cutting supply estimates, Anderson says.

Looking Ahead

This week’s low pressure system tracking through the Ohio Valley and Northeast is bringing a swath of snowfall.

The central Great Plains to the Midwest is receiving snowfall amounts of 6.00 inches. 

“In the warm sector of this storm system, thunderstorms with locally heavy rainfall (more than 1 inch) are forecast from the Ohio River south to the Lower Mississippi Valley,” Drought Monitor officials stated. 

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