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Midwest & Missouri River Basin Drought Status Update - October 11, 2018

Rainfall Brings Much-Needed Drought Relief to Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa

  • Recent rainfall has brought much-needed relief to the hardest-hit drought areas in MO, KS, and IA, however, at the same time, drought conditions worsened in ND.
  • Although rainfall has improved conditions, drought recovery may be slow in areas that experienced extreme or exceptional drought this summer - particularly where surface water and groundwater was limited.
  • Winter is typically the driest season, making autumn a key season for recovery from hydrologic drought. The region depends on continued precipitation during the autumn months in order to replenish depleted subsurface hydrologic conditions.

CURRENT CONDITIONS

  • Recent rainfall has significantly improved drought conditions in northwest MO, eastern KS, and southern IA. Over the last 14 days, at least 5 inches of rain fell in most areas, with localized totals of 10-15 inches near the MO/KS border.
  • River levels are at or above flood stage for many stations in these areas due to the significant rainfall.​
  • Streamflow across the rest of the region is normal to above normal.
  • Below-normal precipitation has contributed to the expansion of severe to extreme drought across ND over the last two months.
  • Groundwater is slowly starting to recover in northwest MO, while remaining significantly below normal in other areas of the state. Pockets of below-normal soil moisture persist in MO, northern MN, and ND.

IMPACTS

  • A few cities in Missouri are still enforcing water conservation measures until reservoirs are able to show some recovery. The reservoir in Hamilton, MO is 71.5” below full, while the one in Elmwood is 91” below full. For Elmwood, conservation will continue until the reservoir is within 4 feet (48”) of normal.
  • According to the USDA, MO has the highest percentage of corn reported in very poor or poor condition (40%) compared to the other 17 corn-producing states in the US.
  • Signs started appearing in early September that corn in northwest Missouri suffered from the significant drought conditions this summer. There are initial reports of reduced yield and drought-damaged harvested corn.
  • Pasture conditions have improved over the last several weeks in MO, with only 33% in poor to very poor condition, compared to 72% in mid-August.

OUTLOOK

  • Winter is typically the driest season, making autumn a key season for recovery from hydrologic drought. The region depends on continued precipitation during the autumn months in order to replenish depleted subsurface hydrologic conditions.
  • The precipitation outlook for October 18-24, 2018 shows a greater chance for below-normal precipitation across the central U.S.
  • The dryness is welcomed and necessary to allow harvest to continue. However, additional precipitation will be needed to continue improvement in the driest areas of the Midwest and Missouri River Basin.

DROUGHT RESOURCES

NEXT UPDATE

Drought Status Updates will be issued on an as-needed basis outside of the growing season. However, the North Central Climate and Drought Outlook Webinar occurs monthly throughout the year.

Do you have local drought impacts?
Report them to the Drought Impact Reporter.
 

NOAA/NIDIS
October 11, 2018