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NOAA image of NOAA’s updated U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook as of July 7, 2006.July 7, 2006 The NOAA Climate Prediction Center today issued an unscheduled update to its U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook. The main reason for today's update is the expansion of drought in the Dakotas. Also, the new outlook highlights short term drought relief in the southwest. (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA’s updated U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook as of July 7, 2006. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)

The updated outlook shows recently-worsening drought conditions affecting parts of the northern Plains and the Upper Mississippi Valley should continue and may even expand across eastern Montana, Minnesota, the Dakotas and parts of Iowa. In the south, drought is expected to persist over much of the central and southern Plains. However, recent heavy rains due to the onset of the U.S. monsoon season should ease drought conditions and reduce wildfires in the Southwest and Colorado, although long-term drought is likely to continue.

Summer weather often brings short bursts of severe weather. Despite the updated outlook, the NOAA U.S. Hazards Assessment indicates the potential for severe weather during July 13-14 in the upper Midwest. Also, the latest 6- to ten-day outlook from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center shows a vast area of abnormal warmth centered over the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest, including nearly the entire continental U.S. outside of the Gulf Coast region. More unwelcome rains are expected for large parts of the East, but the West and Plains states should see mostly below-normal rainfall.

The next update to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which highlights the present status of dryness and drought throughout the U.S., is scheduled for Thursday, July 13 at 8:30 a.m. EDT. The next U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, which gives the prognosis for drought throughout the country, is scheduled to be released on July 20 at 8:30 a.m. EDT.

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Relevant Web Sites
NOAA U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook

NOAA U.S. Hazards Assessment

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

NOAA National Weather Service Safety Information

Media Contact:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163