Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Corn Belt Flip Of Switch

One of the more telling images for those who live in Missouri, Illinois, and eastern parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, is the stunning reversal from last summer's drought to a much more "normal" regime for soil conditions in the western parts of the Corn Belt.  Below are two images off of the Drought Monitor website, with the left image from August 2012 and the most recent image below showing the level of drought as classified by the United States Department of Agriculture.

The telling statistics nationally are that the percentage of real estate under some level of drought has dropped from 63 percent last year to 45.6 percent as of last week, with the vast majority of drought condition across the Southwest and western Plains...areas that were under drought last year. Extreme (drought levels 3 and 4) conditions only make up ten percent of the country this year, compared to over 23 percent through August 20th last year.

The biggest changes were across the Southeast (Georgia) and across the middle of the country (eastern Kansas east through Illinois), where drought has largely been wiped out thanks to a LOT of rain over the past six months.

Click to see full size image. Data from USDA/Drought Monitor website.

We've documented the Southeast's epic deluge this summer in a couple of places...but the Midwest has won quite a bit in the rainfall parade as well, especially since late May where rains have been running at over 150 percent of normal in much of the areas impacted by drought last year.

Dry conditions permeate across Texas west through California -- you've probably read or heard about the Rim Fire in California over the past days and these areas are where the bulk of drought/dry spell nationally reside.