It's been a couple weeks since NOAA issued its winter drought forecast, but the details are worth noting.
From central Iowa west to the Sierra Nevada mountains on the California-Nevada border, drought conditions are expected to persist through the winter. This obviously includes the western Corn Belt. The northern border of this drought area is the North & South Dakota line. Expected drought then runs all the way to the Texas coast. So, recent improvement in central and south Texas drought goes away, and drought conditions re-develop.
There is some improvement expected in central Iowa east through northern Illinois, along with the western Great Lakes (Wisconsin through north-central Minnesota, along with most of North Dakota. Some improvement in drought conditions is also expected in southeastern Missouri and the northern Delta. A mixed bag is featured in the southeastern U.S.--some improvement in Georgia, but persisting drought in Alabama.
The eastern Midwest is generally expected to either stay the same or show some improvement in drought conditions.
But the harsh reality is that, for the entire HRW wheat belt and the western Corn Belt, this forecast suggests that spring 2013 will get underway with some notable soil moisture deficits.
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