This week’s drought summary
The vast majority of the country was drier than normal for the week with only areas of the southern Plains, South, and Southeast seeing precipitation that was well above normal. Dry conditions were prominent over the central and northern Plains, Midwest, Northeast and Southwest. Most of the country experienced cooler-than-normal temperatures with the greatest departure from normal over the central Rocky Mountains. Warmer-than-normal conditions were observed over the northern Rocky Mountains and in the Southeast with departures of 5-10 degrees above normal. A reassessment of conditions took place for many locations in the West to analyze the current drought intensity levels compared to the suite of indices and indicators used each week. Some adjustments were made based on this analysis and not directly related to anything that took place during the last week.
Cooler-than-normal temperatures dominated the region from south Texas into Arkansas and Louisiana. Departures in south Texas were 8-10 degrees below normal. Portions of central Oklahoma as well as the panhandle regions of Oklahoma and Texas were normal to above normal and departures were only 2-4 degrees above normal. The same areas that were the warmest were also the driest as west Texas into the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas did not receive any precipitation. The coastal areas of south Texas and into southern Louisiana were also drier than normal. Central Texas into northern Louisiana and southern Arkansas recorded the most precipitation with up to 200% of normal observed. In the Big Bend area of Texas, well above-normal precipitation was also recorded. In eastern Texas where the most precipitation took place, some improvements to abnormally dry conditions were made. With the continued warm and dry conditions over the Oklahoma panhandle, there was an expansion of extreme and exceptional drought this week with dryness going back 18-24 months. Short-term dryness over portions of west Texas allowed for the reintroduction of abnormally dry conditions. The coastal areas of southern Louisiana are being monitored for degradation.