The Midwest Climate Hub says warm and dry was the theme during December in the North Central U.S. There have been exceptions, including a Christmas system that dropped multiple inches of precipitation in certain areas. The region saw both one and two-class improvements and degradations in drought status, and concerns are starting to weigh heavily on whether soil moisture will be recharged this winter.
The next three to five months are expected to follow a typical El Niño weather pattern overall. That means temperatures will lean warmer for the region, and conditions will be drier for the northern and eastern states in the Midwest. It’s about the 180th week of D1 drought in parts of Iowa, which is the longest stretch since the 1950s.
Exceptional drought continues in southeast Nebraska, with some places in exceptional drought for the past five months. Temps have been above normal for the last 30 days.