El Nino has strengthened steadily during the past month, approaching the “strong category”. El Nino is so strong this go round that it could wind up be the strongest El Nino event in 50 years. El Nino rarely peeks in the summer months, making it possible to see it last through the end of the year. The latest seasonal outlook suggests above-normal precipitation through the western Corn Belt into the Great Plains, with below-normal precipitation across much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. However, it could bring relief to drought stricken California.

USDA and NASA Thursday announced an expanded partnership that seeks better protection for America’s working lands. Under the new agreement, USDA now has expanded access to data from NASA satellites that will help Forest Service fire fighters and first responders better detect wildfires and predict their behavior. USDA stated that among other things, the agreement will expand cooperation on space-borne remote sensing efforts to gather soil moisture data, a practice used to monitor drought across the nation.