Map released Dec. 5, 2019 | Data valid Dec. 3, 2019
This week’s drought summary: A tandem of winter storms impacted the country during the week, bringing cold temperatures, heavy snow, and strong winds to the mountainous areas of the west, northern Plains, upper Midwest, and Northeast. Lower elevations and latitudes dealt with a combination of weather impacts, including moderate to heavy rainfall in the Southwest, showers and thunderstorms across the South and lower Midwest, and freezing rain to the Mid-Atlantic regions. Another week of above-normal precipitation in the Southwest continued to alleviate the effects of a sub-par monsoon season. In contrast, relatively little precipitation fell in the Northwest, continuing dryness-related impacts such as low streamflow, dry soils, and poor snowpack. Farther east, rain continued to chip away at lingering dryness in the southern Ohio River Valley, Mid-Atlantic, and parts of the Southeast while rainfall amounts in Gulf Coast states were generally not enough to stave off developing dryness.
South: The South saw a mixture of degradations and improvements. Last week’s rainfall resulted in a general one-category improvement across central Texas, while the eastern part of the state continued to dry out with expansions to areas of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1). An area of extreme drought (D3) was also introduced as precipitation deficits continue to build and impact rangeland. Northwest Oklahoma also saw degradations with an expansion of D0 and D1 as continued dryness combined with last week’s high winds resulted in a wildfire outbreak. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the dry weather has dried out topsoil and left winter wheat underdeveloped. Additionally, Arkansas saw expansions to D0, while Louisiana saw expansions in D0 and D1. These areas missed out on the heaviest precipitation and continue to accumulate moisture deficits.
Looking Ahead: According to the National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center forecast for the remainder of the week, a storm is expected to bring rain and higher elevation snow to the West Coast, with the highest totals focused over northern California, the southwest corner of Oregon, and the Sierra Nevada. Other areas of the West will likely see lesser amounts. Farther east, cold air moving over the Great Lakes is expected to generate bands of lake effect snow. Elsewhere, dry conditions should be in place for the remainder of the week. By early next week, precipitation will begin to develop over the eastern half of the country with the heaviest amounts favored over portions of the Tennessee Valley, southern Appalachians, and parts of the Ohio River Valley and Mid-Atlantic.
The Climate Prediction Center 6 to 10 day outlook for Dec. 9-13 calls for an outbreak of cold arctic air across the across the lower 48 with temperature departures approaching -15 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather pattern favors above-normal temperatures over Alaska and the West Coast. Variable temperatures are expected along the East Coast. Precipitation is expected to be above normal for most of country, with the exception of California and the Southwest.