The nation's historic drought of 2012 continued its shift toward the northwest during September. According to the United States Drought Monitor, late-September drought coverage in the contiguous United States reached 65.45 percent, surpassing by 1.59 percent an earlier peak established on July 24, 2012. In contrast, September rainfall eased drought in the mid-South and lower Midwest. In those regions, early-September rainfall was associated with the remnants of Hurricane Isaac. As the month progressed, occasional showers also dotted the Gulf and Atlantic Coast states.
The eastern half of the country also got a reprieve from the high temperatures that had plagued most areas during the summer. The coolest weather, relative to normal, covered the Midwest, while most other areas from the eastern Plains to the East Coast noted near-normal September temperatures. In Illinois, Chicago reported its first cooler-than-normal month since September 2011.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor BRAD RIPPEY is the U.S. Editor of the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin of the Joint Agriculture NOAA Weather Facility.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor JEFFREY B. HALVERSON is an associate professor of geography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.