This week’s drought summary: During the past week, widespread rain and thunderstorms fell across parts of the Great Plains, including a few instances of severe weather. Particularly large amounts of rain in central and eastern Nebraska, as well as in adjacent states, improved what had been a quickly drying scenario in many locations. Above-normal precipitation also fell in parts of the Northwest, which led to improvement in parts (though not all) of the ongoing drought areas there. Large rainfall amounts also occurred in south Florida and in parts of the central Florida Panhandle, leading to improvements in or removal of drought in these locations. Widespread rain in parts of Texas also led to drought improvement in the state, though some areas that missed out on the rain (particularly in the Panhandle) saw conditions worsen. Moderate and severe drought were also added to parts of Molokai and the Big Island in Hawaii. Moderate drought coverage lessened in southern Louisiana after precipitation fell there.
South: Widespread precipitation fell this week across parts of central and north Texas, including parts of the Texas Panhandle. Widespread rain also fell in Oklahoma, though this missed the western part of the Oklahoma Panhandle. Rain also fell over much of Arkansas (excluding far southeast), much of Louisiana (though generally excluding the immediate Gulf Coast), and southeast Mississippi. Heavier rain (2-3 inches) also occurred in eastern Tennessee this week, although eastern Kentucky received greater amounts. Moderate drought conditions improved in parts of south-central Louisiana, where soil moisture and short-term precipitation deficits had lessened. Drought conditions improved in parts of Texas where rainfall this week lessened short-term deficits, while many areas that missed the higher rainfall amounts worsened, particularly in the drier parts of the Texas Panhandle. In Oklahoma, parts of western Oklahoma and the Panhandle that received more rainfall had improvements. However, rainfall missed the western Oklahoma Panhandle, where severe drought continues, and precipitation deficits on both short- and long-term scales have continued to worsen here.
Looking ahead: During the first week of June, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a high probability of warmer than normal temperatures across most of the continental United States (excluding the East Coast, south Texas, and the Pacific Northwest). The highest probability for above-normal temperatures is centered on the Central Great Plains. The Intermountain West, in particular the Four Corners, northwest Nevada, and southeast Oregon, are favored to have above-normal precipitation, while areas close to the Canadian border (to the west of Lake Huron) are also slightly favored for above-normal precipitation. Meanwhile, most areas from the central and southern Great Plains to the Atlantic Seaboard are favored to have below-normal precipitation, with the exceptions of south Florida and south Texas.