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U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Feb. 19 (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, the most active area for precipitation was
in the southeast United States where areas of southern Georgia
and South Carolina recorded over 2 inches of rain, with locally
heavier amounts of close to 3.50 inches in Georgia.  A winter
storm over the southern Plains brought wet snow to much of the
panhandle of Texas and into portions of Oklahoma.  Areas of
southern Florida received up to 2 inches of rain.

The Northeast:  Mostly light precipitation over the region
during the last 7 days.  Some lake effect snows in portions of
New York were also observed.  No changes were made to the
lingering D0 regions in New England.

Mid-Atlantic: The northern fringes of the rains that impacted
the southeast did make their way into the Mid-Atlantic states.
Generally, precipitation was less than 0.50 inches for the week
throughout the region, with no changes being made this week.

Southeast:  A continued pattern of above normal precipitation
continued in a large area from Louisiana into South Carolina
this last week.  The drought areas of central and southern
Georgia and South Carolina improved by a full intensity level
this week.  The area south of here did not receive the
beneficial rains and remained dry from southern Georgia into
northern Florida.  Because of the continued dryness, D3 and D2
conditions were pushed farther south into northern Florida and
D1 was pushed into more of central Florida.  In south Florida,
much of the area of D1 was improved with decent rains being
recorded over the last few weeks.

South: Areas of east Texas remained in a favorable weather
pattern as widespread precipitation led to further improvements
in the area.  The D1 and D0 areas were pushed farther to the
west this week.  Improvements were also made in the Texas
panhandle where a wet snow event helped to ease drought
conditions somewhat with a category improvement to the areas of
the greatest precipitation, with a tight gradient from D1 to D4
conditions still existing. Indicators showed dryness continuing
in south Texas, where D2 and D3 conditions were expanded.  In
Oklahoma, some degradation was introduced into the far reaches
of the panhandle this week after another long stretch without
any significant precipitation in the region, and the lack of
soil moisture is still problematic.

Midwest: The areas that did record precipitation this week
generally had amounts less than 1 inch, with most areas
receiving less than 0.50 inches.  In and around the St. Louis
area, some adjustments were made in both Illinois and Missouri
based on field reports and current conditions.  Even with
precipitation, there has been a very slow response to pond and
lake levels, and soil moisture at the deepest depths is still
quite dry.  In eastern Missouri, some D2 was improved to D1
while D1 was expanded to the east slightly.  In Illinois, the D0
along the Mississippi River was expanded to the east and south.

The Plains: A continuing dry pattern that has enveloped the
region most of the winter continued.  No changes were made this
week as the little precipitation did not allow for any
improvements and the time of year did not dictate any
degradation.

The West: Some precipitation in central Arizona did allow for a
small area of improvement this week as the current area of D0
was expanded in the central portion of the state.  The start of
the calendar year has been very dry for much of California,
especially the northern portions of the state.  The good start
to the water year with early precipitation has been followed by
a dry pattern over the last few months.  As impacts to the
dryness start to develop, a new area of D0 was introduced this
week along the coast and to inland locations.  The new area of
D0 was labeled short-term because of the nature of the dryness.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: No changes were made to Alaska,
Hawaii, or Puerto Rico this week.

Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (February 20-24) the
forecast for this period is to remain active with a series of
storm systems moving out of the southwest and onto the Plains
and Midwest.  The precipitation associated with the period is
from around 1 inch in Colorado and Nebraska to 1.50 inches in
portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas.  The
Southeast will remain wet, with projected totals of 2 to 5
inches over Louisiana and into the Carolinas.  Temperatures
during this time will be below normal over much of the United
States outside of south Texas and along the Gulf Coast.
Temperatures will range from 18 degrees Fahrenheit below normal
in the central Plains to 6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in
Florida and south Texas.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (February 26-March 2) anticipates a
continuing cooler than normal pattern over much of the southern
United States, with the greatest chance of below normal
temperatures over the lower Mississippi River valley.  The area
with the best chance for above normal temperatures is in New
England and the Great Lakes region.  Precipitation chances are
below normal over much of the Rocky Mountain and southwest
regions while the east coast and southeast have above normal
chances for above normal precipitation.

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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