Maps released Jan. 9, 2019 | Data valid Jan. 7, 2019
This Week’s Drought Summary: Over the past week, primarily light to moderate precipitation fell from east Texas northeast through New England. Heavier precipitation amounts of 2 to 6 inches were embedded within the larger precipitation swath, affecting areas from southwest Louisiana to the southern Appalachian Mountains. Heavy precipitation amounts, including mountain snow, fell in the Pacific Northwest and in the central and northern Rocky Mountains. Warmer than normal temperatures also covered most of the continental U.S., with the warmest conditions (compared to normal) taking place in the northern states. In the West, many areas that received significant mountain snow in the past few weeks saw an improvement in drought conditions, while areas that missed out on the snow or still had significant precipitation deficits did not see improvements to their drought depiction. Improvements or degradations in conditions east of the Rocky Mountains were primarily in response to significant precipitation occurring, or lack thereof, over the past several weeks. Degradations made in parts of central and southern Texas also occurred due to high evaporative demand and the associated negative impacts on soil moisture. For more details on changes to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor depiction, please see the regional paragraphs below.
South: Over the past week, moderate to heavy precipitation occurred in southeast Texas and Louisiana, and from central and southeast Arkansas eastward. The heaviest rain fell from southwest Louisiana to central Mississippi, where amounts ranged from 2 to 6 inches. With warmer than normal temperatures occurring across the region, drought expansion occurred in the parts of northeast Texas, southwest Arkansas, and northwest Louisiana that were missed by the heavier rains. Widespread drought expansion was made from northeast Texas to central and south-central Texas and the Edwards Plateau, as low precipitation this week continued short-term precipitation deficits in these regions. In south Texas, some improvement to drought conditions occurred in areas that received precipitation recently, thus making short-term precipitation deficits less severe or removing them altogether. Moderate drought was removed from the northwest Texas Panhandle, where short-term precipitation deficits had lessened. Moderate and severe drought continued in the Red River Valley in southwest Oklahoma and western north Texas.
Looking Ahead: A strong storm system is forecast to move across the central and eastern continental U.S. over the next week, delivering 1-3 inches of precipitation, with locally higher amounts, from the south-central U.S. to the Lower Great Lakes region between January 8 and 13. High elevation areas in the West (generally north of the Colorado/New Mexico state line) are forecast to receive precipitation this week as well, with amounts in excess of 3 inches possible in the Cascades and Olympic Range and along the Pacific Coast from northern California into Washington. Primarily warmer than normal temperatures are forecast in the eastern continental U.S. through Tuesday, January 14, while below-normal temperatures will be more common in the West. Temperature swings will occur in the central and southern Great Plains as a series of storm systems and cold fronts progress across the continental U.S., while temperatures in the northern Great Plains will be primarily colder than normal. From Monday, January 13 to Friday, January 17, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is forecasting high probability for warmer than normal temperatures in the southeast half of the continental U.S., and high probability for colder than normal temperatures in the northwest half of the continental U.S. Excepting parts of the southern High Plains and southwest Texas, as well as the Florida Peninsula, the forecast is in favor of above-normal precipitation. In Alaska, above-normal precipitation is forecast from January 13-17, except for southern coastal areas. During this time period, warmer than normal temperatures are forecast for the northern half of Alaska, and colder than normal temperatures are forecast for the southern half of Alaska.