Maps released Oct. 31, 2019 | Data valid Oct. 29, 2019
This week’s drought summary: This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw widespread improvements in drought-stricken areas across portions of the South, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic, as moderate-to-heavy rainfall accumulations were observed associated with storm systems fueled by residual moisture from Tropical Storm Olga. Across these areas, precipitation accumulations ranged from 2-to-10 inches leading to improvements on the map in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. In California, numerous wildfires are burning across northern and southern portions of the state, including the Kincaide Fire (the state’s largest active fire) in Sonoma County that has burned approximately 76,000 acres. In southern California, firefighting efforts have been hampered by strong Santa Ana winds that are causing extreme fire behavior.
South: Widespread showers and thunderstorms were observed during the past week in the Deep South in association with post-tropical cyclone Olga, which made landfall Saturday along the central Louisiana coast. Across the region, rainfall accumulations ranged from 2-to-10 inches across Louisiana and Mississippi—leading to one-category improvements in areas of Severe Drought (D2), Moderate Drought (D1), and Abnormally Dry (D0). Likewise, improvements were made across eastern Tennessee in areas of Extreme Drought (D3), Severe Drought (D2), and Moderate Drought (D1) where rainfall accumulations ranged from 1-to-3 inches.
In Texas, bands of heavy rainfall (2-to-4 inch accumulations) were observed in the Hill Country, Gulf Coast, and North Texas leading to one-category improvements; areas in the western part of the state were generally dry leading to expansion of areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormally Dry (D0). According to the USDA for the week ending October 27, the percent of subsoil by state rated short to very short was as follows: Mississippi 12%, Arkansas 16%, Louisiana 3%, Tennessee 39%, Oklahoma 38%, and Texas 55%. Average temperatures were mainly below normal across the region with the greatest negative anomalies observed across the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles where temperatures were 10-to-15 degrees below normal.
Looking Ahead: The NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for moderate-to-heavy accumulations ranging from 2-to-5+ inches across portions of the South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. Lower accumulations (<2 inches) are expected across a swath extending from eastern Texas northward across most of the Plains states and Upper Midwest. Out West, liquid accumulations of generally less than 1 inch are expected across the Rockies and North Cascades of Washington state.
The CPC 6–10-day Outlook calls for a high probability of above-normal temperatures across the Far West, Great Basin, and Southwest while areas east of the Rockies are expected to be below normal with the exception of Florida. In terms of precipitation, there is a high probability of below-normal precipitation across the Pacific Northwest, northern California, northern Great Basin, and the Intermountain West as well as in the central and southern Plains, lower Midwest, South, and Mid-Atlantic. Conversely, the northern Plains, Upper Midwest, southern Texas, and Florida are expected to have above-normal precipitation.