The U. S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday indicates as many as 26 counties have been classified in D-3 or extreme drought. That’s an expansion in parts of four more counties from last week’s drought map.
Countywide extreme drought conditions exist for Grundy, Sullivan, Daviess, Caldwell, Livingston, and Linn from the Green Hills Region. Also included in extreme drought are southern portions of Harrison and Mercer counties as well as the eastern three-quarters of Putnam County.
Extreme drought covers a wide territory from near Savannah and St. Joseph on the northwest to Moberly and Fayette on the southeast. All of the extreme drought counties, whether partial or completely covered, are north of the Missouri River. The area is further surrounded by counties that are “one step better” which is severe drought status.
The regional area of the Midwest experienced a mixture of both above- and below-normal precipitation amounts during the week.
In eastern Kentucky and Tennessee and along the border of Ohio and Indiana, precipitation amounts were the highest. As much as 5 inches of rain fell in those areas. Farther west, dryness prevailed. Little to no rain was measured across much of Illinois, eastern Missouri, and western Iowa. Precipitation totals in those areas were 25-50 percent below normal for the 30-day period.
The USDA reported that topsoil conditions were 77 percent short to very short in Missouri while subsoil conditions were 72 percent short to very short. Farmers in Missouri are having to bail the corn crops since little to no ear development is widespread. In Michigan, topsoil was rated at 68 percent short to very short and subsoil conditions were 72 percent short to very short. Local reports indicated that soybeans in parts of Michigan were less than 2 feet high and the leaves were flipped and showing their undersides.
USDA reported that soybean conditions were 20 percent poor to very poor across the entire state. D0 drought was expanded to cover most of Lower Michigan and D1 was expanded slightly in eastern Michigan and introduced in southern Michigan. Abnormal dryness was also introduced in central Wisconsin and southeast Illinois and expanded in parts of northern Minnesota.