Map released May 21, 2020 | Data valid: May 19, 2020
This week’s drought summary: The southern Plains, Mississippi Valley, Pacific coast and south Florida were the recipients of the greatest rains this week, with some areas of Louisiana and south Florida recording 5+ inches of rain for the week. Dryness over the East and West was also coupled with warmer than normal temperatures over the West. Temperatures were 3-6 degrees above normal over the Nevada, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico regions while the northern Plains was 6-9 degrees below normal. Many dry areas of the Plains and Midwest have not had drought development due to the unseasonably cool temperatures in May.
South: Temperatures over the South region were near normal to slightly below normal where the most precipitation took place. Areas of West Texas were three to six degrees above normal for the week. It was an active week for precipitation, which allowed for improvements over much of the area. Most of South, Central, and Eastern Texas had a full category improvement as these areas recorded the greatest precipitation, which shifted the drought indices, allowing improvement to take place. Areas of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, West Texas, and Southwest Oklahoma did not receive any of this rain and conditions continued to deteriorate. Portions of West Oklahoma have had all winter wheat zeroed out as producers did not get a crop to grow and did not even see enough growth for grazing purposes. In Southwest Oklahoma, moderate drought and abnormally dry conditions expanded this week. Some areas of the Texas Panhandle did see improvements to the abnormally dry conditions while other areas missed out on the rain and saw conditions decline. Abnormally dry conditions were also expanded over West Texas this week.
Looking Ahead: Over the next five to seven days, it is anticipated that the Plains States will remain in an active pattern, with the greatest precipitation to occur over portions of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and into Texas. The Mid-Atlantic is also anticipating precipitation amounts of up to three to four inches during the period. Dry conditions will dominate the Southwest and into most of the Pacific Northwest and West Coast. Temperatures during this period will be near normal over most of the country with below-normal temperatures over the Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains. Areas that receive the most rain will also have the coolest temperatures over the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast.
The six to ten day outlooks show a high probability of greater than normal temperatures over the West, northern Plains, Midwest, Northeast and Alaska. The greatest probabilities are over the Southwest. There are also high probabilities of cooler than normal temperatures over the Southern Plains and into the South. The precipitation outlook has the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest with the greatest likelihood of below-normal precipitation. The best chances of above-normal precipitation will be over the South and Southeast but may also include the Midwest and Southwest.