The soggy breakup of Hurricane Isaac brought some relief to parts of the drought-plagued Midwest, but other agricultural areas continue to bear the pain of a worsening climate.
The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed that the hardest-hit drought areas of the continental United States decreased slightly to 21.45%, down by 1.7 percentage points. Parts of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana got some relief because of rain associated with Isaac, a slow-moving storm that hit the Louisiana coast on Aug. 28 as a Category 1 hurricane and wended its wet way across parts of the South and Midwest.
The rain came after many crops had already been harvested, but it may yet manage to improve the soybean yield. However, the rain bypassed the key corn-producing states of Nebraska and Iowa, both hard hit by drought conditions that have brought some increases in consumer prices.
Isaac was a slow-moving, especially wet storm that brought flooding to Louisiana and other parts of the region. Because the storm lingered, it dropped more than 10 inches of precipitation in some areas, improving the drought status in parts of Louisiana and Arkansas, according to the monitor.
The storm, downgraded from hurricane status as it moved inland, also dropped two to six inches of rainfall in many areas of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, according to the drought survey. That resulted in improvements of at least one drought category for many areas, including parts of Ohio and Indiana, and in some cases as much as two categories of improvement.