Update — Heavy Rains End Eastern Drought
Weather Summary: Heavy rain returned to the northern Plains and upper Midwest late in the drought-monitoring period, further easing or eradicating lingering long-term drought and turning residual drought to flooding in some of the hardest-hit areas. By late May, minor to moderate flooding was underway at nearly 100 river gauges in the western Corn Belt, with major flooding occurring in a few locations. For example, the Skunk River near Sigourney, Iowa, crested 9.93 feet above flood stage on May 28, surpassing the March 1960 high-water mark by a little over seven inches. Similarly, the Little Sioux River at Correctionville, Iowa, climbed 6.27 feet above flood stage on May 28, the third-highest crest in that location behind 10.34 feet in June 1891 and 6.86 feet in April 1965.
Local downpours also dotted the southeastern Plains, while a sustained period of heavy rain (and high-elevation snow) nearly eradicated dryness (D0) and drought (D1) from New York and New England. Meanwhile, little or no precipitation fell from California to the central and southern High Plains, further sharpening the gradient between drought and non-drought areas across the nation’s mid-section.
Looking Ahead: During the next 5 days (May 30 – June 3), an active weather pattern will cover the nation’s mid-section. A slow-moving storm will drift northward into the Dakotas on May 30, then slide eastward into the Great Lakes region by June 1. Along the storm’s trailing cold front, a multi-day severe weather outbreak can be expected across portions of the Plains, Midwest, and Mid-South.
The cold front should reach the Atlantic Seaboard in early June. During the next five days, additional rainfall amounts could reach 1 to 3 inches on the northern Plains and 2 to 6 inches from the east-central Plains into the lower Great Lakes region, including the middle Mississippi Valley.
In contrast, mostly dry weather will prevail from California into the Southwest and along the southern Atlantic Coast, except for heavy showers in southern Florida. Hot weather will prevail in advance of the storm, especially across the nation’s northeastern quadrant, while cool conditions will trail the system into the Plains and upper Midwest.
By early June, hot weather will develop in the Pacific Coast states.
The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for June 4-8 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nearly nationwide, although cooler-than-normal conditions will prevail in the Dakotas and along the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in the western Gulf Coast region and west of the Rockies will contrast with wetter-than-normal weather across much of the Plains, upper Midwest, and Atlantic coastal plain.