Precipitation Patterns and Dry Areas
Below is a map showing soil moisture anomalies as of July 8. The green areas show above normal soil moisture, white near normal and brown/yellow areas showing soil moisture deficits. A large area of the USA east of the Mississippi has good moisture, even some of the southeastern states. California continues to do well, despite the recent heat. However, there are a couple of areas of concern.
Soil moisture deficits continue across the Northern Plains, especially the Dakotas and eastern Montana with some dry areas developing in the western Corn Belt areas of Iowa and Illinois. Another dry area has developed along the Front Range of Colorado and New Mexico.
For portions of the Northern Plains and Corn Belt the graphic below shows the rainfall deficit as of July 9. Rain deficits of nearly 6 inches are showing up in the Dakotas and some 4 to 5 inches deficits in portions of Iowa.
It is not unusual to hit a dry stretch in mid-to-late June in the current dry areas. In the coming weeks, monsoonal moisture will be working its way north and eastward out of the far Southern Rockies and into the Plains. This should lead to an increase in thunderstorm activity and better rain chances for the dry areas, especially the Corn Belt and Front Range of the Rockies.
We are concerned, however, that the dryness in the Northern Plains will persist.