Drought Monitor Weekly: Widespread Rains Across the South

Photo: L. Brian Stauffer, University of Illinois

Summary

Widespread precipitation this week led mostly to improvements in moderate drought and abnormally dry regions across the Southeast and South, and in the Rocky Mountains in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico.

In parts of central and western Washington where high evaporative demand and paltry precipitation amounts continued, conditions degraded to moderate drought.

Moderate and severe drought continued in southeast Alaska and in parts of Hawaii, while moderate drought and abnormal dryness coverage was adjusted in Puerto Rico.

Southeast

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Moderate to heavy rain engulfed much of the western Florida Panhandle and much of Alabama and southwest Georgia. As a result, short-term precipitation deficits were erased in many areas, leading to the removal of moderate drought that previously had extended from the Mobile area northeastward into southern Georgia. Some areas of abnormal dryness also improved in the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, and Georgia.

Moderate drought was also removed in northeast Georgia and adjusted in parts of central and southern Georgia and South Carolina in response to changes in short-term precipitation deficits this week. The rest of the region remained free of abnormal dryness or drought.

South

Rainfall over the region was widespread and heavy in many areas, particularly Louisiana and southeast Texas, and this caused short-term precipitation deficits to improve in Texas and far southern Louisiana.

Abnormal dryness in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles was removed after rainfall this week. Abnormal dryness was also reduced and adjusted in southern Texas in response to recent rainfall. Abnormal dryness also ceased in southern Louisiana where heavy rainfall amounts of 3 to 5 inches were common this week.

Midwest

Light to moderate precipitation occurred over much of the Midwest, which was free of drought or abnormal dryness going into this week, and the region remains free of abnormal dryness or drought.

High Plains

Recent precipitation led to the removal of abnormal dryness in southeast Wyoming. Abnormally dry conditions continued from southwest Nebraska into northeast Colorado. Recent precipitation in the Wind River Range in Wyoming and improving surface moisture conditions led to a reduction of abnormal dryness in this area.

West

Precipitation over the past week in Colorado and New Mexico led to reduction of long-term precipitation deficits and improvement in conditions in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Moderate drought was completely removed from southern Colorado, and severe and moderate drought coverage was reduced in northwest New Mexico, where vegetation is prospering.

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A large area of long-term abnormal dryness also improved to normal conditions in south-central Colorado because of the continued precipitation. Abnormal dryness coverage in southwest Wyoming and northeast Utah was also reduced because of the effects of recent precipitation.

Meanwhile, short- and long-term dry conditions, low streamflow, and high evaporative demand continue in western Washington, where moderate drought expanded to cover more of central and western Washington, including the coastal areas of the Olympic Peninsula.

Northeast

Widespread precipitation occurred in the region over the last week, keeping the region free of abnormal dryness or drought.

Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico

Moderate drought continued in central Puerto Rico this week, though coverage was slightly reduced based on the location of short-term precipitation deficits. Abnormally dry conditions also expanded in southwest Puerto Rico.

No changes were made this week in Alaska, and severe and moderate drought continued in southeast Alaska.

Severe and moderate drought also continued on several islands in Hawaii, and no changes were made there this week.

Looking Ahead

This week, a strong jet stream with several embedded storm systems will move into the continental U.S. and will interact with copious amounts of moisture. Though the evolution of each of the storm systems remains in question, moderate to heavy rain is possible in parts of the Great Plains and Midwest from this weekend into next week, including in areas that have received heavy rain recently, in addition to a risk for severe storms.

Moderate to heavy precipitation amounts are also forecast in the Sierra Nevada and in some other parts of the West as the storm systems move from west to east. Warmer temperatures are forecast to occur in parts of the Southeast from this weekend into early next week.


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