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NOAA Drought Summary
Heavy rainfall associated with Hurricane Idalia brought damaging winds and flooding centered along its path. Idalia moved from the Gulf of Mexico inland along the northeastern Gulf Coast of Florida and continued northeastward through south-central and east-central Georgia, slightly inland from the South Carolina Coast, then across southeastern North Carolina before moving into the open waters of the northwestern Atlantic Ocean. A solid swath of heavy rains were observed in a band from the eastern Florida Panhandle northward through middle Georgia, interior eastern South Carolina, and southeastern North Carolina as far north as the lower Outer Banks. Between 4.5 to 10.0 inches of rain fell solidly along this swath of land, but rainfall totals dropped off rapidly to the west and east of the main band.
Farther west, a surge of tropical moisture pushed northward into the southwestern U.S., continuing northward across the Great Basin, Intermountain West, and adjacent Rockies into adjacent Canada. Heavy rainfall fell in a broken pattern over this general area, with the highest amounts reported across interior southeastern California, over much of the middle Colorado River Basin, and across scattered areas farther north. The heaviest amounts outside the lower Colorado River Basin fell on higher elevations and over areas where precipitation was enhanced by orography, as is typical.
Most of the Nation, however, endured a hot and drier-than-normal week, including most areas of drought. Temperatures averaged 5 to 10 deg. F accompanied deficient precipitation over a large area from the Rockies to the Appalachians and central Gulf Coast Region, prompting drought intensification over large parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley, the Central States, and the southern tier of the country west of the Florida Panhandle. Improvement was limited to the band of heavy precipitation from Hurricane Idalia, and in scattered locales affected by the tropical moisture surge in the Desert Southwest, from southeastern Utah to central Arizona westward toward central California. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the coverage of topsoils short or very short of moisture increased by 6 percent this past week, now covering 58 percent of the contiguous 48 states. This is the greatest coverage at this time of year in more than 9 years, the prior record in that short interim being just over 50 percent in 2020.
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