National Drought Mitigation Center


Drought entrenched in Southwest with eastern edge expanding

July 11, 2013

Arkansas joined the list of states in drought and drought was still firmly entrenched over the southern Plains and Southwest on the U.S. Drought Monitor map released today based on data through July 9.

The total area in moderate drought or worse increased to 44.85 percent of the 48 contiguous states, from 44.06 percent a week earlier. The areas in severe and extreme drought showed similar small increases, and the area in exceptional drought, the worst category, declined by one hundredth of a percentage point, to 4.67 from 4.68 percent.

Part of northern Arkansas had what U.S. Drought Monitor authors call a “two-category degradation,” skipping the abnormally dry designation and going straight into moderate drought, based on data showing that the area is rapidly drying out. The area of the state in moderate drought increased to 18.22 percent from zero a week earlier.

Drought intensified across Texas, with 91.8 percent of the state now in moderate drought or worse, and 12.2 percent in exceptional drought, the worst category. Texas has been in varying degrees of drought for more than three years now. “The impacts from the ongoing drought are becoming more intense as the drought lingers,” said this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor author, Matt Rosencrans. “For instance, the Brazosport Water Authority implemented Stage 3 of its Drought Contingency Plan. Inflows into the Lower Colorado River have trickled down to 10 cubic feet per second (from the Llano River) with Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan at 35 and 37 percent of capacity, respectively. Medina Lake, near San Antonio, is down to 5 percent capacity.”

Drought also expanded and intensified in Oklahoma and Kansas, while monsoon rains brought minor relief to small areas of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

U.S. 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). The map is released each Thursday based on data through the previous Tuesday morning.

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. Rosencrans is with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

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. U.S. Drought Monitor data online goes back to January 2000.

U.S. Drought Monitor map, statistics and narrative summary:

Drought Impact Reporter:

USDA’s weekly “Agriculture in Drought” analysis:

National Climatic Data Center’s State of the Climate Drought Summary:

Seasonal Drought Outlook:

-- Kelly Helm Smith, National Drought Mitigation Center