This week’s drought summary
A series of atmospheric rivers (AR) led to heavy rain and high-elevation snow across parts of the West, especially across California. Precipitation totals exceeding 4 inches (liquid-equivalent) were widespread, and several areas in and near the Sierra Nevada, Cascades, and coastal ranges recorded over one foot of precipitation. Moderate to heavy precipitation was also common along the coast and in the higher elevations of the Pacific Northwest, some higher elevations in the central and northern Rockies, part of the upper Midwest, portions of the lower Mississippi Valley, the interior Southeast, and scattered locales across the Ohio Valley and the Northeast. Precipitation totals generally exceeded 1.5 inches, and topped 4 inches in parts of the Southeast, central Utah, and the higher elevations in the Pacific Northwest. Much of the precipitation fell on areas experiencing dryness and drought, so across the country, improvement was much more common than deterioration. Mild temperatures prevailed across the country except where significant precipitation was observed in the northern Plains and Far West. Daily high temperatures averaged more than 12 deg. F above normal in central and southern Texas while daily low temperatures averaged 10 to 13 deg. F above normal across the Great Lakes, the Southeast, and the southern Plains.
Moderate to locally heavy rain in Tennessee and Mississippi kept those states free from drought. The small area of D0 remaining in Tennessee was removed, and D0 areas in Mississippi contracted slightly. Moderate to locally heavy rain also fell on most of Louisiana and eastern Texas, reducing the extent of D0 in northern Louisiana and improving the west side of the D0 and D1 areas in the Bayou. Farther west, little or no precipitation fell. Exacerbated by much above normal temperatures, conditions deteriorated in portions of Texas and Oklahoma, although most locations were unchanged by the week’s dryness. Much of Oklahoma remained in extreme drought (D3), and similarly dry conditions existed across scattered areas in central and northern Texas. Exceptional drought (D4) now covers part of central Texas, scattered areas across Oklahoma, along with the northern tier of the state. 90-day precipitation amounts were only 10 to 25 percent of normal through the Oklahoma Panhandle, part of adjacent Texas, and in far western Texas from Big Bend National Park northwestward for a few hundred miles along the Rio Grande. Locations in and near the central Texas D4 region recorded 3 to 5 inches less precipitation than normal during this period.