US Drought Monitor and Summary, March 7, 2019

Source: US Drought Monitor | March 7, 2019

Map valid as of March 7, 2019 | Data valid March 5, 2019

South: Cooler weather arrived, with heavy rain in eastern portions of the region in sharp contrast to increasingly dry conditions farther west. Rainfall in southern Louisiana’s Abnormal Dryness (D0) areas totaled 1 to 4 inches, easing or eliminating concerns over developing dryness; after discussions with local experts, the coastal D0 was removed. Pockets of dryness linger along the central Gulf Coast at varying time scales, and this region will need to be monitored closely over the upcoming weeks. Locally heavy showers (1-2 inches) in southern Texas also led to the reduction of D0 and Moderate Drought (D1). However, the story across the remainder of central and northern Texas was intensifying short-term dryness and drought. Over the past 60 days, large expanses of the state have received less than 50 percent of normal rainfall, with the expanded D1 areas reporting 10 percent of normal precipitation or less. However, there remains a sharply divergent signal at 90 days, with wet conditions (100-150 percent of normal) noted from San Antonio to Wichita Falls. This antecedent wetness has helped to forestall—for now—an even greater expansion of D0 and D1. However, if rain does not materialize soon across Texas, impacts of dryness and drought will rapidly develop as seasonably warmer weather arrives.

Looking Ahead: A stormy weather pattern will continue over much of the nation. A series of fast-moving Pacific storms will bring significant precipitation to most of the contiguous U.S., save for parts of the Gulf Coast States, southern California, and from the northern High Plains into the upper Midwest. Fresh snowfall is likely from the Cascades and Sierra Nevada into the Rockies, while another round of moderate to heavy snow may also blanket locales from the central High Plains into the Great Lakes Region. Potentially moderate to heavy rain is also in the offing from the southern Plains into the lower Ohio Valley. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 12–16 calls for above-normal precipitation across the entire nation, except for drier-than-normal conditions from California into the northern Rockies. Colder-than-normal weather over the western half of the nation will contrast with above-normal temperatures east of the Mississippi.

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