Source: droughtmonitor.unl.edu | Map released 4-23-20 | Data valid 4-21-20
This week’s drought summary: A very active precipitation pattern impacted areas of the South into the Southeast over the last week. As with the recent storm paths, the areas along the Gulf Coast were again in an unfavorable position in which some areas did see rains, but the dryness continued. A spring snow event tracked through the Plains and into the Midwest, bringing with it a mix of rain and snow. Temperatures were cooler than normal over almost the entire CONUS region with only the coastal regions of the West and Florida being above normal for temperatures. Departures were greatest over the Midwest, where temperatures were 12-15 degrees below normal.
South: Much of the region was dry, especially in portions of Texas and Oklahoma and southern Louisiana. The big exception was Mississippi, central Louisiana, and into east Texas where up to 400% of normal precipitation was again recorded this week. Cooler than normal temperatures helped to offset the dryness as most areas were 6-12 degrees below normal for the week. In response to the short-term dryness, abnormally dry conditions and moderate drought were expanded over portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles with a couple of new pockets of abnormally dry conditions in western Oklahoma into Texas. The abnormally dry conditions were expanded over west Texas while a reassessment of conditions in south Texas led to improvements and the removal of exceptional drought in the region. Mostly status quo was maintained along the Gulf Coast of Texas, where some improvements were made, but a new severe drought pocket popped up along the coast. Improvements were made to the abnormally dry conditions in Louisiana and Mississippi in response to the rain, and even some severe drought was improved in southern Louisiana. The coastal regions remain dry and will continue to be monitored.
Looking ahead: The greatest precipitation is expected over the Lower Mississippi Valley, into the Ohio River Valley and into the Southeast, including Florida with active storm patterns. Some coastal precipitation is expected over portions of Washington and into Oregon, but most of the rest of the West is not anticipating much precipitation. Temperatures during this time will be cooler than normal over the East and especially the Northeast, where departures will be in the range of 9-12 degrees below normal. The West and Southwest are anticipated to be the warmest with departures of 9-12 degrees above normal.
The 6-10 day outlooks show a higher probability of drier than normal conditions over much of the West and into the Plains and Southeast as well as Alaska. In contrast, there is a higher probability of wetter than normal conditions over the Midwest and Northeast. Temperatures during this time show that the greatest probability of warmer than normal temperatures is over the Southwest with much of the western half of the United States having a greater likelihood of warmer than normal temperatures. Much of the Midwest, the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic and eastern Alaska have the best chances of recording below-normal temperatures, with the highest probabilities in the Northeast.