U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Nov. 20 (Text)

Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:

Summary:  Mostly dry weather prevailed across the contiguous
U.S., with above-normal temperatures from the Corn Belt to the
Pacific Coast contrasting with cooler-than-normal conditions
across the eastern and south-central U.S.  Locally heavy rain
and mountain snow arrived across the central and northern
Pacific Coast states, reaching the interior Northwest and
northern Rockies, while a disturbance generated light to
moderate rain across portions of the Southeast.  Overall,
drought conditions remained unchanged or deteriorated.

Mid-Atlantic and Northeast:  Mostly dry, cool weather prevailed.
In upstate New York, Abnormal Dryness (D0) was expanded to
reflect declining streamflows as well as increasing
precipitation deficits (locally less than 70 percent of normal
over the past 60 to 90 days).  Meanwhile, Moderate Drought (D1)
was expanded across southwestern Virginia, where 90-day rainfall
has tallied less than 60 percent of normal and streamflows have
likewise dropped into the 10th percentile or lower.

Southeast:  Despite cooler-than-normal weather, conditions
deteriorated across much of the region, although pockets of
heavy rain provided localized relief along the southern North
Carolina Coast.  A disturbance triggered showers (0.75 to 2
inches) from east-central Georgia into southern North Carolina,
but the rain was not heavy enough to afford any substantial
drought relief; in fact, the rainfall likely staved off drought
expansion, if only for a short time.  One exception was the
southeastern tip of North Carolina, where amounts of 2 to 4
inches alleviated Abnormal Dryness (D0).  From central and
southern Alabama into Georgia and interior portions of the
Carolinas, rainfall deficits continued to mount (25 to 50
percent of normal over the past 90 days) while streamflows and
soil moisture levels fell further.  Dry conditions are also
increasing across northern Florida, where rain will be needed
soon to prevent this portion of the state from slipping into
drought.

Delta:  Dry, chilly weather (temperatures up to 7°F below
normal) prevailed, with Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate
Drought (D1) expanding in southern portions of the region
despite the cool conditions.  The lack of short-term rainfall is
most pronounced in southern and southwestern Louisiana, where
precipitation has totaled less locally less than 50 percent of
normal over the past 90 days.  The last 30 days have been
exceptionally dry, with many locales reporting less than 2
inches of rainfall (well shy of the 5 to 6 inch normal).
Streamflows in southwestern Louisiana have dropped below the 5th
percentile, reflecting the rapidly increasing impacts of the
short-term dryness.

South-Central U.S.:  Drought intensified across much of the
region as rainfall deficits increased and soil moisture,
streamflows, and other water reserves rapidly declined.  Dry
conditions have intensified since the beginning of October, and
impacts are noted in the region’s agricultural reports.  As of
November 18, the Texas winter wheat crop was rated 25 percent
poor to very poor, while the state’s pastures have deteriorated
to 49 percent poor to very poor.  In Oklahoma, winter wheat and
pastures stood at 44 and 77 percent poor to very poor,
respectively.  The high-resolution, satellite-derived Vegetation
Health Index (VHI) indicated the worst conditions were west of
San Antonio and from Lubbock, Texas northward into the Oklahoma
Panhandle, and eastward to Ponca City, Oklahoma, along the
Kansas border.

Central and Northern Plains:  Unseasonably warm, dry conditions
maintained drought across most of the region.  The most notable
change was the introduction of Exceptional Drought (D4) to
southern Kansas, where rainfall has totaled less than 25 percent
of normal over the past 90 to 180 days.  The high-resolution,
satellite-derived Vegetation Health Index (VHI) indicated the
worst conditions were southwest of Wichita, with the core of the
poorest VHI centered on Medicine Lodge.  As of November 18,
Kansas’ winter wheat and pastures were rated 24 and 81 percent
poor to very poor, respectively.  Farther north, there were no
changes made to the drought designation from Nebraska into the
Dakotas, although additional deterioration may be warranted in
the near future.  In South Dakota, winter wheat was rated 60
percent poor to very poor as of November 18, while pastures
stood at 83 percent poor to very poor as of October 28.

Midwest:  Drought areas of the Midwest were largely unchanged,
although drier-than-normal conditions persisted.  Modest
increases in D0 (Abnormal Dryness) were made in Kentucky to
reflect increasingly dry conditions at 30 and 60 days.
Elsewhere, areas of Moderate to Extreme Drought (D1-D3) from the
upper Midwest into western portions of the Corn Belt and Great
Lakes reported above-normal temperatures (locally more than 10°F
above normal) and dry weather; additional increases in drought
intensity and coverage are likely if precipitation does not
materialize soon in these locales.

Western U.S.:  Stormy conditions provided beneficial
precipitation across western and northern portions of the
region, while dry, unfavorably warm weather prevailed over
central and southern drought areas of the west.

In northern portions of the region, a surge of Pacific moisture
generated moderate to heavy rain and mountain snow (2-10 inches
liquid equivalent, locally more), maintaining a favorable start
to the winter wet season.  As of November 20, snow water
equivalent (SWE) rankings ranged from the 60th to 90th
percentile in the Sierra Nevada to the 50th to 80th percentile
in the Cascades.  Early-season SWE percentile rankings remained
unfavorably low across northern portions of the Rockies (locally
as low as the 10th percentile), although short-term
precipitation prospects remained mostly favorable.

In central and southern portions of the region, mostly dry
weather maintained or intensified drought.  Severe Drought (D2)
expanded in southwestern Nevada and adjacent portions of
southeastern California in response to updated long-term
precipitation (year-to-date precipitation was less than 50
percent of normal in the expanded D2 area).  Severe to Extreme
(D2-D3) drought was likewise expanded across west-central and
eastern New Mexico to reflect unfavorably dry conditions at both
the long-term (less than 50 percent of normal since January 1)
and short term (locally less than 25 percent of normal over the
past 2 months).  In southwestern California, Abnormal Dryness
(D0) -- and to a lesser extent Moderate Drought (D1) -- was
expanded to reflect short-term dryness (60-day rainfall less
than 50 percent of normal, locally less than 25 percent).  Dry
weather prevailed across the remainder of the Four Corners
region, although there were no other changes made to drought
designation.

Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico:  In Alaska, cold conditions
continued, with temperatures averaging up to 12°F below normal.
Dry weather prevailed, and the state’s low snow water equivalent
values (15th to 30th percentile) indicated this region will need
to be monitored over the upcoming weeks for additional
assessment.  In Hawaii, east-facing slopes (D0) received almost
daily rainfall to prevent further degradation, while there has
been no new impact information to warrant changes to existing
Moderate to Severe Drought (D1-D3) areas elsewhere on the
islands.   There were no concerns for drought on Puerto Rico,
with moderate to heavy rain (2-4 inches) reported across
northern and western sections of the island.

Looking Ahead:  Pacific moisture will continue to stream
onshore, although locally heavy precipitation across the
Northwest will give way to decreasing rain and snow totals over
northern portions of the Rockies and Great Plains.  Generally
dry conditions are expected across the remainder of the
contiguous U.S., affording most drought areas little -- if any -
- relief over the next 5 to 7 days.  A cold front will generate
mostly light rain across the Midwest, while an influx of Gulf
moisture may lead to localized showers in far southern Texas.
Otherwise, dry, increasingly cool weather is expected.  The CPC
6-10 day forecast for November 26-30 calls for below-normal
temperatures from the Rockies to the East Coast, with warmer-
than-normal conditions confined to the southwestern quarter of
the nation.  However, above-normal precipitation is expected to
develop from the northeastern Gulf into the Northeast, and
across central portions of the Rockies and High Plains.  Drier-
than-normal conditions are anticipated from the Southwest into
Texas and Oklahoma, extending northeastward into the western
Corn Belt.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Rose in Washington at srose31@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Marco Babic at mbabic@bloomberg.net

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