Drought continued to intensify over parts of the central United States during the 7 days ending on August 7, 2012, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor map released today.
“This week, we saw extreme (D3) and exceptional (D4) drought continue to expand or intensify over parts of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Illinois,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist and U.S. Drought Monitor author at the National Drought Mitigation Center. “New Mexico has also seen some degradation, and D4 drought has been introduced from east central Kansas to west central Missouri.”
Fuchs noted that some improvement (from D4 to D3) was seen in portions of South Dakota and Wyoming.
The August 7 Drought Monitor map shows 52.27 percent of the United States and Puerto Rico in moderate drought or worse, compared to 52.65 percent last week; 38.48 percent in severe drought or worse, compared to 38.12 percent a week earlier; 20.18 percent in extreme drought or worse, up from 18.62 the previous week; and 3.51 percent in exceptional drought, up from 2.52 percent last week.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and about 350 drought observers across the country. It is released each Thursday based on data through the previous Tuesday.
Drought Monitor authors synthesize many drought indicators into a single map that identifies areas of the country that are abnormally dry (D0), in moderate drought (D1), in severe drought (D2), extreme drought (D3) and exceptional drought (D4).
Statistics for the percent area in each category of drought are automatically added to the U.S. Drought Monitor website each week for the entire country and Puerto Rico, for the 48 contiguous states, for each climate region, and for individual states: http://drought.unl.edu/MonitoringTools/USDroughtMonitor/DroughtMonitorTips.aspx
The National Climatic Data Center maintains drought data based on the Palmer Drought Severity Index, calculated to the beginning of the historic record: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/sotc/drought/2012/06/uspctarea-wetdry-mod.txt
U.S. Drought Monitor: http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu
Seasonal Drought Outlook: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/seasonal_drought.html