South: Much of the South remains awash in precipitation. In fact, lowland flooding has been a problem in the mid-South, including the northern Mississippi Delta. Closer to the Gulf Coast, however, short-term dryness (D0) has developed in the last couple of weeks across portions of southern Louisiana and southern Mississippi. Since the beginning of the year, rainfall in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has totaled just 4.08 inches, or 44 percent of normal. Farther west, abnormal dryness (D0) and pockets of moderate drought (D1) have been on the increase in Texas, except in the eastern part of the state. The lower Rio Grande Valley and portions of West Texas and the northern panhandle have been especially dry in recent weeks. From Dec. 1, 2018 – Feb. 19, 2019, rainfall in McAllen, Texas, totaled just 1.75 inches (57 percent of normal). In addition, McAllen posted a high temperature of 94 F on Feb. 15. Elsewhere in Texas, year-to-date precipitation through Feb. 19 totaled less than one-quarter of an inch in Childress (0.19 inch, or 13 percent of normal), Amarillo (0.16 inch, or 14 percent), Borger (0.11 inch, or 11 percent), Dalhart (0.08 inch, or 10 percent), and Lubbock (0.02 inch, or 2 percent). According to the USDA, 28 percent of the winter wheat in Texas was in very poor to poor condition on February 17. On the same date, 28 percent of Texas’ rangeland and pastures were categorized as very poor to poor, while statewide topsoil moisture was 43 percent very short to short. Soils in Texas were especially dry on the northern and southern high plains (moisture was 80 and 84 percent very short to short, respectively), as well as the Lower Valley (80 percent very short to short).
Looking Ahead: A steady parade of storms will continue to traverse the country, delivering periods of rain and snow to the West; additional snowfall in the upper Midwest; and torrential rainfall across the interior Southeast, northward into the Ohio Valley. The largest storm during the next 5 days will emerge from the Southwest on Feb. 22-23 and cross the upper Midwest on Feb. 23-24. Five-day rainfall totals could reach 2 to 4 inches or more across the mid-South, while blizzard conditions could engulf the upper Midwest and neighboring regions, especially on Feb. 23-24. In contrast, little or no precipitation will occur during the next 5 days in the lower Rio Grande Valley.
The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for Feb. 26 – March 2 calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather across the lower Southeast. Temperatures will remain significantly below average across large sections of the northern, western, and central U.S. Meanwhile, near- or above-normal precipitation across most of the country should contrast with drier-than-normal conditions from southern California to the southern Plains and parts of the mid-South.
Read more at droughtmonitor.unl.edu.