This week’s drought summary: This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw continued improvements in drought conditions as a large-scale, low-pressure system last week delivered moderate-to-heavy precipitation accumulations ranging from 2 to 7 inches leading to widespread improvements across portions of the South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the lower Midwest. For October, these regions saw well-above-normal precipitation that has helped alleviate drought conditions, especially in the Southeast. Out West, generally dry conditions prevailed with the exception of some mountain snow showers in the central and northern Rockies of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. In California, fire-weather conditions improved allowing firefighters in southern and northern California to help contain several large wildfires. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the contiguous U.S. experienced its 21st coolest and 8th wettest October on record.
South: One this week’s map, recent rainfall across eastern portions of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee led to continued widespread improvement in conditions. Rainfall accumulations across the region ranged from 1 to 8 inches with the heaviest accumulations observed in Mississippi. This week’s precipitation improved soil moisture and streamflows leading to one-category improvements in areas of Severe Drought (D2), Moderate Drought (D1), and Abnormally Dry (D0). In portions of southern, central, and western Texas, dry conditions prevailed leading to some minor expansion of drought. As a region, the South experienced its 23rd wettest October on record, while at a state level Mississippi experienced its wettest October on record. For the week, average temperatures were below normal across the entire region with the greatest negative anomalies observed across the northern half of Texas and western Oklahoma where temperatures were 10-to-20 degrees below normal. As a region, the South Climate Region had its 36th coolest on record for October.
Looking Ahead: The NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for moderate-to-heavy accumulations ranging from 1 to 4 inches across a swath extending from northern Texas to Kentucky later this week. Further south, light-to-moderate accumulations (1-to-2 inches) are expected along the Gulf Coast and in South Texas. Along the Great Lakes and the Northeast, periods of precipitation (accumulations generally <1 inch liquid), including some heavy lake-effect snowfall, are expected. Out West, primarily warm and dry conditions will prevail with the exception of northern portions of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies that may see periods of mountain snow.
The CPC 6–10-day Outlook calls for a high probability of above-normal temperatures west of the Rockies while areas east of the Rockies are expected to be below normal. In terms of precipitation, there is a moderate-to-high probability of below-normal levels across most of the West including the Intermountain West, Great Basin, California, and the Pacific Northwest while there is a moderate probability of above-normal precipitation in eastern Montana and western portions of the northern Plains. Likewise, above-normal precipitation (moderate probability) is expected in the southern tier from Texas to Florida and extending up the Eastern Seaboard.