Reports indicate topsoil moisture levels short, very short in some areas

Soil moisture is defined as the ratio of the volume of water to the volume of soil. (Journal photo by Kylene Scott.)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Chief Economist reported 30 percent of the lower 48 states are short or very short in terms of topsoil moisture levels for the week ending April 13. 

Soils continued to dry out in parts of the country. Drier-than-normal conditions prevailed across much of the upper Midwest, Pacific Northwest, central Plains, Rockies, and Southwest, as well as much of south Florida and the middle Atlantic Coast. 

In contrast, large sections of California, the Northeast, Ohio Valley, southern Plains, and South, as well as parts of the Great Lakes, central Oregon, and northern Plains, recorded at least twice the normal amount of weekly precipitation. Some locations in East Texas and Louisiana recorded weekly rainfall totaling 8 inches or more. 

Meanwhile, most of the nation was warmer than normal. Parts of the Great Lakes, upper Midwest, upstate New York, and northern Plains recorded weekly temperatures 9°F or more above normal. Conversely, parts of the Southeast and Southwest were moderately cooler than normal. A few locations in New Mexico recorded temperatures 6°F or more below normal.