Rain Around the Edges and Drought for the Rest
The pattern of late has kept precipitation around the northern and southern edges of the region, and this week was no exception (Figure 1), resulting in departures from normal ranging from 2" below normal in the southwest part of the region to 5" above normal in the northern part (Figure 2). Northern Wisconsin and parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan easily received the most precipitation in the region for the week. Parts of those areas received upwards of 5" to 6" or more. The majority of the precipitation records were set in Wisconsin, Michigan, and northern Illinois. On the other end of the spectrum, nearly the entire state of Missouri saw no rain during the last 10 days of August.
The continued lack of significant rainfall for many parts of the region has resulted in drought conditions continuing to expand and intensify (Figure 3). As little as two months ago, there was less than 1% of the region experiencing drought (D1 or above), while now over 28% of the region is experiencing drought conditions (Figure 4). Looking at the precipitation totals and departures from normal over the last 90 days, it is easy to see why many of the areas are experiencing drought during the latter half of the growing season (Figure 5)(Figure 6). Parts of Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin are as much as 8" to 12" below normal over the last 90 days. Kentucky and Ohio are the only two states in the region who have seen near normal precipitation over the last 90 days and therefore have no drought concerns at this time.
Temperatures Make a U-turn to Well Above Normal
The cool, below normal summer much of the region experienced to date this year vanished during the last 10 days of August. No part of the region experienced below normal temperatures, with eastern Kentucky being the closest to normal (Figure 7). Areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa were as much as 10°F above normal, with the majority of the rest of the region anywhere from 3°F to 6°F above normal. The above normal temperatures resulted in average temperatures in the low 70's to mid 80's for much of the region (Figure 8). During the last ten days of August, over 500 temperature records fell with almost all of them being the highest maximum temperature and highest minimum temperature variety.
Crop and Pasture Condition
Due the lack of precipitation for many areas in the region over the last 60-90 days, crop conditions have gradually moved away from good or excellent according to the USDA NASS reports. Kentucky and Ohio remain in relatively good condition as they have been spared from the dry conditions the rest of the region has been experiencing. Couple the recent dry conditions with the cool spring and summer and the result is not only are crop conditions creeping away from good or excellent, but they also remain behind past years in terms of maturity.
|Percentage of Crop in Good or Excellent Condition (as of Sept. 1)|
|Percentage of Corn Crop Reported as Mature (as of Sept. 1)|
|State||Sept. 1, 2013||Last year at this time||5-Year Average|
Severe Weather Around the Edges
Severe weather primarily skirted the edges of the region to end August (Figure 9). All states in the region reported severe winds, Minnesota and Michigan reported tornadoes, and all states except Missouri and Ohio reported hail. Even with the few tornado reports to end August, the running tornado count for the entire country remains well behind a normal year, and is currently on pace to set a record for the least number of tornadoes in one year (Figure 10). As of September 4th, the tornado count sits at 616, 32 behind the previous minimum of 648. The median number (50th percentile) of tornadoes by September 4th is 1,108.