Latest drought monitor over the midwest


Monthly drought outlook


One Week US Drought Monitor Class Change


Amount of precipitation needed to end drought


Drought severity index by division


4 month precipitation departures


Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI), complete, Iowa


Standard precipitation index


USDA Topsoil Moisture by Short-VeryShort


Week Date None Abnormally Dry Moderate Severe Extreme Exceptional DSCI
Current 2023-11-21 1.04 98.96 83.66 58.07 27.47 0.00 268
Last Week 2023-11-14 1.79 98.21 82.71 58.07 27.47 0.00 266
Start of Water Year 2023-09-26 0.01 99.99 95.65 67.41 25.00 1.17 289
Three Months Ago 2023-08-22 1.10 98.90 74.43 41.31 5.28 0.00 220
Start of Calendar Year 2022-12-27 9.52 90.48 66.66 29.43 8.83 0.57 196
One Year Ago 2022-11-15 7.36 92.64 73.30 29.84 12.01 0.57 208


During much of the drought-monitoring period ending November 21, mostly dry weather dominated the country, aside from some downpours in Florida and environs. By November 20-21, however, a storm system crossing the central and eastern U.S. slowed a rapid fieldwork pace but delivered much-needed rain in some of the nation’s key drought areas, including the South. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. corn harvest was 93% complete by November 19, ahead of the 5-year average of 91%. On the same date, harvest progress numbers for sorghum (96% complete), peanuts (92%), and cotton (77%) were also ahead of average. Until the arrival of the late-period storm, precipitation was mostly confined to a few small areas—across the lower Southeast and from the Ohio Valley into the Northeast. However, parts of Florida’s peninsula received excessive rainfall (4 to 10 inches or more), as a non-tropical storm system grazed the region. Some precipitation also fell in the West, with many of the highest totals in portions of the Pacific Coast States. For the second week in a row, near- or above-normal temperatures prevailed nearly nationwide.


A low-pressure system crossing the Midwest will gradually weaken and drift eastward, while a trailing cold front will largely clear the Atlantic Seaboard by Wednesday. Additional rainfall across the eastern one-third of the U.S. could reach 1 to 3 inches, especially in the middle Atlantic States. Thanksgiving Day, November 23, will feature mild, dry weather across much of the country, although snow may blanket portions of the northern and central Rockies. The generally quiet pattern should last through the weekend after Thanksgiving, with most areas experiencing seasonable temperatures and minimal precipitation. In fact, negligible precipitation is expected during the next 5 days in much of the Mississippi Valley, as well as an area stretching from California to Texas.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for November 27 – December 1 calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures and precipitation across most of the country. Warmer-than-normal weather will be confined to southern Florida and areas along the Pacific Coast, as well as the nation’s norther tier from Washington to Montana. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions should be limited to the Deep South, from the southern half of Texas to the southern Atlantic Coast.


Precipitation arriving late in the drought-monitoring period provided only limited relief in drought-affected areas. Some areas that missed most or all of the moisture turned a bit drier. On November 19, prior to the storminess, Iowa led the Midwest with topsoil moisture rated 69% very short to short, followed by Missouri at 64% and Kentucky at 56%.