U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Dec. 18 (Text)

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

Over the last 7 days, much of the eastern United States has
received some precipitation, with the greatest amounts at the
end of the period over portions of Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama and Georgia, where up to 3 inches of rain was recorded.
Portions of the central Plains and Midwest recorded light
precipitation from Nebraska and Iowa into South Dakota,
Minnesota and Wisconsin, where amounts were generally less than
1 inch and most fell on unfrozen soils.  This allowed for good
infiltration into the top layers of the profile. An active
pattern continued in the Pacific Northwest, where precipitation
amounts of 2 to 4 inches were common along the coast and several
feet of snow fell in the upper elevations.  Central Arizona also
received some good rain over several days with amounts from 1.5
to 3 inches.

The Northeast:  Some scattered precipitation events occurred,
with some amounts over 1 inch in Maine, Pennsylvania, New York,
Massachusetts, and Connecticut.  With the region being drought
free and just a few areas of abnormally dry conditions
currently, no changes were made in the region this week.

Mid-Atlantic: This was a dry week in the region, with very
little precipitation.  The last 30 to 60 days have been dry in
the region, but the time of the year has allowed for very few
impacts.  No changes were made this week to the United States
Drought Monitor depiction.

Southeast:  Dry conditions through much of Virginia and the
Carolinas continued this week, as the last few months have been
dry with well below normal precipitation.  This week, D2 was
expanded out of South Carolina and into North Carolina.  In
Georgia, D2 was also expanded in the northeast portion of the
state, where ponds continue to dry up.  In areas of Mississippi,
Alabama, and Georgia, a large area of precipitation amounts from
2 to 3 inches was recorded.  This helped to bring amounts near
normal for the month, but the last 30 to 60 days still show
large deficits in many areas.  In Alabama, D1 and D2 were
improved in the northeast portion of the state where conditions
warranted.

South: Dry conditions prevailed over much of the region this
week, with only east Texas and Louisiana recording significant
precipitation amounts.  Improvements to the drought depiction
were made in east Texas and Louisiana, with D1 and D2 areas
being reduced.  Degradation to the drought status in Oklahoma
and Texas was made, with D3 expanding in central Oklahoma and
along the border with Texas.  In central Texas, a new area of D4
was introduced and D3 expanded, D0 was expanded in west Texas,
and D3 was expanded in north central Texas.

Midwest: Widespread precipitation over much of the area was
welcomed with the continuing dry conditions for the region.
Amounts were generally less than 1 inch for most places and no
changes were made this week.

The Plains: Rains over eastern Nebraska and into north Central
Kansas were welcomed, but generally less than 1 inch for the
total amounts.  Most other locations were again dry for the week
and no changes were made on the Plains for this week.

The West: A wet week over central Arizona and along the west
coast allowed for some improvements to the drought status.  In
central Arizona, D2 conditions were improved where the most
rains were recorded.  In southern Nevada and into southern
California, some improvements to the D1 and D2 conditions were
made where indicators were improved out to 12 months.  Areas of
the central and northern Rocky Mountains have had a slow start
to the snow season and lower elevations remain dry.  In response
to the dryness, D3 was expanded in central Wyoming and a small
area of D4 was added near Rock Springs.  In southwest Wyoming,
D3 was improved as this area has received some recent
precipitation, easing conditions.  For Montana, some degradation
was noted in the southeast and south central areas where dryness
has persisted.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: The northeast slopes of the
Hawaiian Islands have received enough precipitation recently to
allow for some improvements on the Big Island, Maui, Molokai,
and Oahu. No changes were made for Alaska and Puerto Rico this
week.

Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (December 19-23) the
weather pattern should stay active, with multiple storm systems
impacting the country.  A vigorous system will be moving out of
the Plains and into the Midwest and Great Lakes region and
finally into New England over the next 5 days.  Precipitation
amounts are expected to be in the 0.50 to 2.40 inch range, with
the greatest amounts expected over New England.  A second system
will be coming into the Pacific Northwest with projected
precipitation amounts of up to 9.00 inches in southern Oregon
and northern California along the coast.  Temperatures during
this time look to be above normal over much of the eastern half
of the country and below normal along the west coast.  Extremes
will range from 9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in Oklahoma
and Arkansas to 6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in southern
Oregon.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (December 24-28) is showing a good
chance for below normal temperatures over much of the United
States, from the northern Rocky Mountains all the way to the
southeast.  The coldest temperatures are expected over the
central Plains to Montana.  The best chances for temperatures
above normal are in Alaska and the northern Great Lakes into New
England.  The precipitation pattern stays active, but much of
the country will have good chances of above normal
precipitation, with the best chances over the southeast and
Great Basin.

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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