U.S. Soil Moisture: Southwest Not As Dry; Wet Soils Mid-Atlantic

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The West/Southwest U.S. drought zone received some marginally beneficial rainfall last week particularly in Texas. However, concern increases regarding down trees/power outage potential in the Mid-Atlantic region where soil moisture is excessive.

Fig. 1: Rainfall required to end dry-to-drought condition across the U.S. and the weekly change annotated.

Discussion: Strong soil moisture deficits remain in-place in the West, Southwest and South-central U.S. (Fig. 1). The largest rainfall deficits are in north-central Oregon and northeast Georgia. In the Great Plains drought extends from Texas to just south of the core of the U.S. Corn Belt.

Last week the distinct trend was wetter in parts of the West and Southwest particularly central and north-coastal Texas. Meanwhile the East-central U.S. trended drier most notably in Alabama and also central Illinois.

The NOAA/WPC 7-day rainfall forecast indicates 3-6 in. centered on the Mid-South U.S. drought area (Fig. 2). Also of interest is an emerging super wet soil moisture zone caused by historic summer 2018 rainfall in the Interior Mid-Atlantic region (Fig. 3).

Fig. 2: The NOAA/WPC 7-day rainfall forecast indicates 3-6 in. across the Mid-South drought area.

Fig. 3: A wet zone in the Mid-Atlantic States has emerged due to historic summer rainfall.