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NOAA: Outlook Bleak for Drought Relief

2459 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Stephenscity
Little relief is in sight from the drought that now encompasses nearly two-thirds of the U.S., according to the latest three-month outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released Thursday.

NOAA Temperature Outlook
The outlook calls for above-average temperatures across the majority of the country for the August-to-October period. The agency calls for "equal chances" of above- or below-average temperatures from the West Coast states into the northern Rockies.

The outlook follows on the heels of the hottest January-through-June period on record for the contiguous United States. More than half the lower 48 states set individual state records for the warmest such period in records dating to 1895.

July is also on pace to be the warmest on record for several cities from the Rockies to the East Coast.

NOAA Precipitation Outlook
For the rapidly worsening drought in the Midwest, prospects for relief are bleak. The NOAA outlook outlines a bullseye over the Corn Belt where precipitation is expected to be below average.

"Unfortunately, the self-perpetuation of regional drought conditions, with very dry soils and very limited evapotranspiration, tends to inhibit widespread development of thunderstorm complexes," the report notes.

"It certainly is grim news for us in Illinois and other parts of the Midwest," said Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel. "I kind of have given up hope for short-term relief."

Evapotranspiration is the combination of water loss due to evaporation from ground sources and transpiration from plants.

NOAA Drought Outlook
As a result of the temperature and precipitation outlooks, NOAA expects the following changes to the drought through October:

•Persistent or intensifying drought across the vast majority of the existing drought area.
•Expansion of drought along its northern and eastern edges, creeping into more of the Upper Midwest as well as western New York, central Pennsylvania, and much of West Virginia.
•Some improvement in drought conditions for parts of the Southeast, particularly Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. The report notes that during a given year, the greatest chance for a tropical storm or hurricane affecting these areas is precisely during the August-to-October period.
•Improvement in drought conditions across the Southwest, especially Arizona and western New Mexico. NOAA noted this year's summer monsoon has been relatively generous so far in terms of rainfall, and expects that trend of above-average precipitation to continue.
For the Midwest, forecasters don't see any improvement until at least November. In fact, if El Nino – an area of warmer-than-average water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean – forms as predicted, that means even more dry weather next winter for the Midwest and North, said seasonal forecaster Dan Collins of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in Maryland.
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I have been hearing about little real drought relief for about a week. With corn supplies facing a shortage and its soaring prices no doubt will push so many food products higher, how smart is it for this nation to continue to burn its food in the form of ethanol when pure gas is so much more efficient :?: :? :? :? :? :?
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