This week’s drought summary
Widespread changes were made across the country, with many degradations and improvements occurring. In the eastern U.S., mostly widespread improvements occurred following widespread heavy rains, though parts of New Jersey and Long Island that missed out on these rains saw conditions worsen. The Midwest and east-central Great Plains saw mostly worsening conditions and widespread crop stress and low streamflows after another week of mostly dry weather. A mix of improvements and degradations occurred in Texas, where recent precipitation amounts have varied widely. The northern Great Plains received widespread heavy rainfall this week, leading to large-scale improvements to ongoing drought and abnormal dryness. In the Pacific Northwest, a few areas saw above-normal precipitation and improving conditions, but larger parts of the region saw increasing evaporative demand, continued dry weather and lowering streamflows, leading to worsening conditions.
Much warmer than normal temperatures covered the western half of the region, especially across southwest Texas, where temperatures were at least 9 degrees above normal in many locations. Farther east, temperatures were near normal or cooler than normal, with readings coming in from 3 to 6 degrees below normal in eastern Tennessee. Recent rains in central Louisiana led to a shifting of a small area of moderate drought as short-term precipitation deficits shifted to the northeast. Short-term moderate drought developed in parts of northeast Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, where short-term precipitation deficits grew and streamflow decreased. In north-central, central and southeast Texas, soil moisture and streamflow decreased amid growing precipitation deficits, leading to localized worsening in drought conditions or introduction of abnormal dryness. Farther west in Texas, a combination of precipitation this week and a re-evaluation of precipitation from recent weeks led to more improvements in the Texas Panhandle and in adjacent western Oklahoma, as well as improvements in a severe drought area south of Lubbock.