Great Plains Soil Moisture is Trending Much Drier

Global Soil Moisture Anomaly Analysis for May 2020
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Hot and dry scare for Great Plains? Model forecasts this week have certainly been in favor of a developing dry and hot period for the Great Plains possibly extending into the East U.S. for the 10-day period beginning over-the-weekend. But! The GFS is backing off the intensity of this potential event last night while the ECM is on its own with the 10-day dry/hot forecast. The ECM 10-day percent of normal rainfall forecast indicates arid conditions for the central and southern Great Plains, Texas, the Mid-South and Northeast U.S. (Fig. 1). The GFS is not as dry. In the 11-15 day period a wetter regime is agreed to by all models lead by GFS ENS (Fig. 2). So…is there a dry and hot scare for the Great Plains ahead? Yes, but the trend is starting look less intense and of shorter duration.

Fig. 1-2: ECM 10-day percent of normal rainfall forecast is dry followed by a wetter change days 11-15 indicated by GFS ENS.

The upcoming hot risk is very focused on Kansas and Oklahoma with increasing >100F risk for the central and western portion of each state peaking early in the 6-10 day period (Fig. 3-4). Of interest…the drier soils in the southwest Great Plains and the drier seasonal soil moisture change across most of the Great Plains into the Ohio Valley (Fig. 5-6).

Fig. 3-4: The GFS ENS risk of >95F in the 1-5 and 6-10 day period. >100F risk is annotated for the Great Plains.


Fig. 5-6: Current U.S. soil moisture anomalies and the seasonal soil moisture trend.