This week’s drought summary
This week, heavy precipitation fell in parts of the West, especially in California, while drier weather generally occurred in the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains. Heavier precipitation also fell along parts of the Rio Grande in Texas, leading to some improvements of drought conditions there. Widespread precipitation amounts at or above a half inch fell in east Texas eastward into the Southeast, and from near Interstate 44 in Oklahoma eastward into Arkansas and southern Missouri. New York and southern New England also saw near a half inch of precipitation this week, with localized higher amounts. Dry weather continued in parts of the Florida Peninsula, where severe drought coverage increased in several areas. In response to rainfall in central Puerto Rico but continued dry conditions in the northwest, abnormal dryness coverage shifted a bit there. Recent dry weeks in Hawaii led to decreased streamflows and the introduction of abnormal dryness on all islands except Kauai and Niihau. For more detailed information for each region, please refer to the paragraphs below.
Widespread precipitation amounts of at least a half inch fell across the eastern two-thirds of the region, with localized spots in far east Texas, Louisiana, southwest Mississippi and central Arkansas reaching 2 inches. Oklahoma northwest of Interstate 44 and much of central and west Texas had mostly dry weather this week. Exceptions to this occurred in many areas along the Rio Grande from the Big Bend east in southern Texas, which received localized heavier precipitation amounts from 0.5 to 2 inches. Temperatures across the South region this week were generally 5 to 15 degrees cooler than normal. Continued dry conditions in the Oklahoma and Texas panhandles led to expansions of severe and exceptional drought where soil moisture and groundwater levels continued to drop. In the northern Texas Panhandle, the winter wheat crop is in danger of total failure, which is indicative of the soil moisture and precipitation deficit problems in the area. In areas that mostly missed out on heavier rains in central Texas, streamflow continued to drop amid growing precipitation deficits, leading to expansion of drought and abnormal dryness in some locations. Farther south, in the Big Bend region and in south-central Texas, localized improvements were made due to benefits from recent heavier rainfall. Ongoing short- and long-term drought and abnormal dryness remained unchanged in southern Louisiana and Mississippi, and the rest of the region remained free of drought or abnormal dryness.