Big Improvements Over the Past Year
Although we are not done with 2013 it has already shown to be a big improvement for many areas of the USA in regards to precipitation as compared to the very dry year of 2012.
As we all remember, 2012 was an extremely dry year for many stock growers, especially in the central, west and southwest. Severe to exceptional drought conditions had developed by the end of 2012 over many areas as you can see in the drought monitor from late last year below.
By late Fall 2012 the Central Plains had been rocked by severe drought conditions. Very dry conditions had developed in the Rockies and portions of the southern plains. Snowpack was also off to a very poor start during this time frame across most of the west.
For most of 2012 we were in the midst of moderate La Nina (cool than normal water temperatures in the sub tropical Pacific). This was one reason for the very dry conditions in the western and central areas of the USA. In December 2012 and into early 2013 we began to see a very modest rise in water temperatures in the sub tropical Pacific which in turn helped the Spring of 2013 to become more moist in many areas.
The more active Spring pattern of 2013 went to a more wet Summer and in some areas a very wet Fall. In the graphic below you can see that many areas of the Central and Southern Plains, High Plains and Rockies received above normal precipitation from late June to late October 2013 (blue and green show above normal precipitation, red is below normal). In some areas, drought conditions were completely erased. However, dry conditions did develop in the Corn Belt and some areas of the Midwest and California.
All indications suggest that the last two months of the year should continue to bring similar trends in regards to precipitation for most of the USA. The sub tropical Pacific continues to be a little bit warmer which bodes well for many areas still in drought conditions.