U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Dec. 11 (Text)

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

Moderate to heavy precipitation fell on a swath from the lower
Mississippi Valley northeastward through the Appalachians and
upstate New England. A large part of this region received over
an inch of precipitation, with 3 to 5 inches reported in parts
of the Ohio and lower Mississippi Valleys, and a few other
isolated areas. Farther northwest, moderate precipitation
totaled up to 1.0 inch along a strip from the northern High
Plains eastward through parts of the Great Lakes region. West of
the Plains, heavy precipitation was observed from northern
California northward through western Oregon and Washington. A
few inches fell on some of the higher elevations, and coastal
areas near the Oregon/California border. And finally,
precipitation fell on parts of the central and northern Rockies
and the northern Intermountain West. Isolated totals up to 4
inches were measured in some of the higher elevations.

The Northeast: Generally 0.5 to locally 2.0 inches fell on the
D0 areas, but the precipitation was not enough to change the
intensity or coverage of the dry areas substantially.

The South Atlantic Seaboard: Light to moderate precipitation was
restricted to areas near the Appalachians and parts of Florida
last week. Enough precipitation fell to bring relief to most of
the D0 area in southern Florida, with dryness now restricted to
a small part of the southwestern coast. In addition, some small
areas of improvement were noted in parts of northern Georgia and
western South Carolina where moderate precipitation fell. In
contrast, little precipitation fell on central and eastern
Georgia, allowing for expansion of D2 and D3 areas in parts of
those regions, most notably near the Georgia coast.

The Lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys: Moderate to heavy
precipitation through most of this region brought large areas of
1-category improvement from Louisiana, eastern Arkansas, and
Mississippi northeastward through southern Ohio, and a portion
of central Alabama. Precipitation totals of 3 to 5 inches were
fairly common from the central Tennessee/Kentucky border
northward to the Ohio River and northeastward into southern
Ohio. As a result, dryness and drought retracted westward across
this broad area. Precipitation dropped off markedly farther to
the north and west, particularly above the Ohio/Mississippi
Confluence, so no improvement occurred across these regions.

The Plains: Moderate to heavy precipitation - a few inches in
spots - brought improvement to parts of the Texas coastline.
Across the northern Plains, generally 0.5 to 1.0 inch fell from
portions of the Dakotas eastward across southern Minnesota and
western Wisconsin, but any improvement seemed insufficient to
make any changes to the Drought Monitor in those areas. Through
the remainder of the Plains, little or no precipitation fell. As
a result, 1-category deterioration was assessed in parts of
Texas, eastern Kansas, and small parts of adjacent areas. The
continuing dryness has negatively impacted the winter wheat
crop. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service
of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, 64 percent of the crop
is in poor or very poor condition in South Dakota, and 40 to 45
percent are poor or very poor in Texas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska.

The West: It was a dry week in eastern sections of Washington
and Oregon, and from the central Rockies to the Mexican border.
In these areas, dryness and drought remained essentially
unchanged. Farther north and West, the precipitation across
California, Idaho, Montana, and northwestern Wyoming improved
conditions in some of the former D0 to D2 areas there. Among
other changes, dryness was pulled out of the Sacramento Valley,
and moderate drought (D1) improved in parts of Yellowstone and
adjacent areas.

Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: Heavy precipitation, generally
2 to 4 inches, fell across Kauai, Hawaii, engendering 1-category
improvements island-wide. D0 to D2 conditions are now confined
to southern sections of the Island. Less precipitation, if any,
fell on the rest of the state, keeping dryness and drought
unchanged. Elsewhere, no changes were made to the D0 area in
Alaska, and there is no dryness assessed across Puerto Rico.

Looking Ahead: During the next 5 days (December 13 - 17, 2012),
moderate to heavy precipitation (0.5 to locally 3.0 inches) is
expected from the central Rockies and the Intermountain West
westward to the Pacific Coast, from part of the central Plains
northeastward through the Great Lakes region, from the central
Gulf Coast states northeastward through the central and southern
Appalachians, and along the East Coast from Virginia southward
through South Carolina and central and northern Georgia. Most
locations across the eastern half of the country are forecast to
receive at least 0.25 inch of precipitation, with little if any
expected in the Florida Peninsula, northern Maine, and the High
Plains. For the next 5 days (December 18 - 23, 2012), odds favor
above-median precipitation once again from the central Rockies
and part of the Intermountain West westward to the Pacific
Coast. Wetter than normal weather also seems most likely across
the mid-Atlantic, the northern half of the Appalachians, and the
Northeast. In contrast, subnormal precipitation is favored
across the Southeast, most of the Mississippi Valley and Plains
states, and the northern Rockies.

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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