Map released Feb. 25, 2021 | Data valid Feb. 23, 2021
This week’s drought summary: After a frigid start to the period, especially throughout the middle third of the Nation where daily temperature anomalies were 30 to 40 degrees F below normal and readings dropped below -40 degrees F in Minnesota and 0 degrees F as far south as Central Texas, temperatures finally moderated by week’s end. By Monday, highs had risen into the 40s & 50s degrees F in the Dakotas and 70s and 80s degrees F in Texas. Frequent Pacific storms battered the Northwest, and then tracked southeastward across the Northern and Central Rockies, dropping plentiful moisture on Washington, Oregon, northern California, Idaho, & western Montana, but missing most of the Southwest yet again. Storms also dropped widespread precipitation on much of the Southeast, mid-Atlantic, and coastal New England while most of the Midwest saw light frozen (snow, sleet, freezing rain) precipitation. Dry weather was observed across much of the Plains except in South-Central Texas. Weekly temperatures averaged below to much-below normal throughout the lower 48 States except for central and southern Florida. Readings in Alaska remained below-normal except in the southwest and Aleutians, and significant precipitation was limited to along the southwest, southern, and southeastern coasts. Meanwhile, Hawaii experienced increased shower activity, especially on Kauai where some flash flooding occurred. In Puerto Rico, light showers persisted across eastern sections while the northwest remained mostly dry, and dryness/drought increased.
The ensuing 5 days (March 2-6) expects favorable odds for above normal precipitation across much of Alaska and in the Tennessee Valley and Carolinas. Subnormal precipitation should prevail across the North-Central States (northern halves of the Rockies and Plains and Great Lakes region) and along the western Gulf Coast, with Equal Chances (EC) elsewhere in the lower 48 States. Subnormal temperatures are likely in Alaska and the Far West, with above normal readings anticipated for the eastern two-thirds of the Nation (except EC for New England).
South: Little or no precipitation fell on the Southern Plains except across South-Central Texas, improving conditions there, while light to moderate amounts (0.5-2 inches) were measured in the lower Mississippi Valley (Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee). Where enough precipitation fell to make a significant dent in the short-term deficiencies, a one-category improvement occurred (e.g. northern and eastern Mississippi, southern Tennessee). However, the greatest rains seemed to fall on non-drought areas. In contrast, little or no precipitation fell on south Texas and Northeast Texas into Southeast Oklahoma, expanding drought severity and area there. USGS seven-day average stream flows have dropped into the below to much-below normal levels
Looking ahead: During the next five days (Feb. 25-March 1), storms will impact the Pacific Northwest, especially Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and then track southeastward, gathering Gulf moisture before tracking northeastward. A swath of one to four inches of rain should fall from Northeast Texas northeastward into the mid-Atlantic, with lighter totals in the New England and the Great Lakes region. Unfortunately, little or no precipitation is forecasted for the Southwest, California, the Northern and Central Plains, upper Midwest, and Florida. Temperatures will average below normal in the West, Rockies, and northern Plains, and above normal in the eastern half of the Nation.