Map released: April 30, 2020 | Data valid: April 28, 2020
This week’s drought summary: An active pattern of storms brought cold, wet weather to the Northeast, rain and locally severe thunderstorms to parts of the South, lower Midwest, and Southeast. Drought areas along the western Gulf Coast missed the heaviest rains, while those in the eastern half fared better. A ridge of high pressure over the West kept conditions warm and dry.
South: Locally heavy rain and thunderstorms fell across the eastern half of the southern region. The largest totals (four inches or more) were recorded in Louisiana and Mississippi. Temperatures were near to below normal, with the largest departures (five degrees below normal) recorded in Tennessee. For the most part, the rain either missed the drought areas near the coast or wasn’t enough to warrant improvements in conditions, instead preventing degradations.
The western half of the region generally saw little or no rain again this week. Weekly average temperatures ranged from two to eight degrees above normal, with locations in south Texas setting daily record highs with temperatures reaching triple digits. The warm, dry weather continued to deplete moisture supplies, stress vegetation, and deteriorate drought conditions across parts of the Texas Gulf Coast, with expansions to moderate (D1), severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought. Texas also saw improvements as localized rain improved soil moisture, vegetation health, and streamflow.
Looking ahead: The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center forecast for the remainder of the week calls for continued wet conditions across much of the Eastern U.S., with the highest values (more than two inches) expected over the Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures in the eastern half of the country are expected to be near to above normal, with departures of one to eight degrees, over the weekend.
For the western half of the country, areas expected to receive an inch or more of precipitation include parts of the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, and Central Plains. In the Southwest, dry weather with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal is expected to continue.
Moving into next week, the Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day outlook (valid May 5-9) favors below-normal temperatures for the much of eastern half of the country. Above-normal temperatures are expected throughout the West, the Southern Plains, along the Gulf Coast, and throughout Florida. The greatest probabilities for above-normal precipitation are expected from North Texas to the Middle Mississippi Valley and along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.