Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:
From Tuesday morning, November 30, through Wednesday morning, December 1, widespread heavy precipitation totaling 1 to 4 inches fell from the southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle northeastward through central and western Pennsylvania and far western New York. Moderate amounts fell from northwestern Alabama northeastward through southern and eastern Ohio, and along the Piedmont and parts of the Coastal Plains from southern Georgia northward through eastern Pennsylvania and most of upstate New York. However, this precipitation fell after the valid Drought Monitor period, which ended Tuesday morning, November 30, and thus was not considered in this week’s Drought Monitor.
Eastern Seaboard: Two to locally five inches fell on a small area along the upstate South Carolina/North Carolina border into extreme northeastern Georgia, but significantly drier conditions prevailed elsewhere. The eastern slopes of the Appalachians recorded 0.5 to 2.0 inches of precipitation with isolated higher amounts while only a few tenths of an inch fell from the Piedmont areas to the Atlantic Coast. As a result, dryness and drought remained unchanged in most areas, with some expansion of D0 conditions into southeastern Virginia and eastern sections of the Carolinas. Areas of southern Georgia and the western half of South Carolina received 4 to locally 8 inches less precipitation than normal during the last 90 days while other areas of dryness and drought date back 30 to 60 days.
Florida: After another week of little to no rainfall, D0 conditions have expanded to cover all but extreme southeastern sections of the state, and severe to extreme drought now exists across eastern sections of the northern and eastern Panhandle. Over the last 90 days, parts of northeastern and east-central Florida recorded 8 to locally over 12 inches less precipitation than normal while deficits of 4 to 8 inches covered most other portions of central and northern Florida as dryness and, in some areas, serious drought conditions continued to develop and expand.
Central Gulf Coast: Generally dry conditions were experienced along the immediate coast, with precipitation amounts generally increasing with latitude. Scattered precipitation totals of 2 to 4 inches reached as far south as central Louisiana, and southwestern Mississippi. Increasing precipitation deficits led to D0 and D1 expansion into the Louisiana Delta, but heavier precipitation led to some improvement farther north across central Louisiana and non-coastal southern Mississippi. Still, precipitation shortfalls over the last 90 days exceeded 6 inches across southeastern Mississippi, southeastern Louisiana, and central and southwestern Louisiana.
Ohio, Tennessee, and Lower Mississippi Valleys: Widespread heavy precipitation induced significant relief for areas of dryness and drought, with 2 category improvements brought into areas where the heaviest precipitation fell and significantly reduced or eliminated 90-day precipitation deficits. Widespread totals exceeding 5 inches were reported near the Ohio River in Indiana, and 3 to 5 inch amounts were common elsewhere, with only a few isolated to small areas reporting lesser totals. Sweeping reductions were introduced from northern Louisiana, central and northern Mississippi, and northwestern Alabama northward through eastern Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, most of Tennessee, central and eastern Kentucky, southern Illinois, central and southern Indiana, and much of Ohio. Only a few areas of moderate drought now exist across Indiana, and severe to locally extreme drought was substantially curtailed to cover only parts of western Kentucky, western Tennessee, eastern and southern Arkansas, and (still) through most of northern Louisiana.
Southern and Central Plains: Light to moderate precipitation fell on parts of eastern Texas and Oklahoma while little or none fell elsewhere. Growing deficits led to a significant increase in D2 coverage in eastern Texas, with lesser areas of D0 and D1 expansion in this region. Farther south and west, D0 expanded to cover all of southern and southeastern Texas while D0 to D3 coverage in central and western Texas spread into larger sections of this area. Although traditional drought indicators don’t appear particularly serious at first glance through southern and western Texas, county agricultural reports highlighted sharply increasing short-term deficits and frequently windy conditions that enhanced surface moisture depletion. Some impacts on crops, grasslands, and livestock upkeep have been reported, and burn bans have been mandated in a number of counties in this region. In addition, moderate drought extended northward through the eastern Big Bend region of Texas and pushed into adjacent southeastern New Mexico.
Farther north, dryness expanded into the Oklahoma and northern Texas Panhandles while conditions broadly deteriorated in eastern Colorado and the western half of Kansas. Moderate drought expanded toward central Kansas, and severe drought developed through the Arkansas River Valley in southeastern Colorado.
Rockies to the Pacific Coast: Generally light precipitation was reported in areas covered by dryness and drought, with totals exceeding an inch in some of the higher elevations across the northern half of the region. However, a re-assessment of conditions led to the elimination of abnormal dryness in north-central and northeastern Nevada while some limited expansion of dryness occurred in small sections of western Arizona and in southeastern California near the southwestern Nevada border.
Alaska and Hawaii: A few tenths of an inch of precipitation fell on the dry area in central Alaska and through most of the dry area covering southern coastal Alaska, except through south-central Alaska, where 1 to 3 inches fell, and across the Panhandle, where totals of 2 to 5 inches were common. Precipitation deficits on all time scales have eroded over the past several weeks, but no change in the areas assessed as abnormally dry seemed prudent at this time.
Light to moderate precipitation fell on most of Hawaii, with amounts reaching 1 to 4 inches in some windward areas. At this time, however, no changes were made to the drought assessment here pending assessments of how this precipitation changed observed impacts, if at all.
Looking Ahead: The next two weeks can be summed up as abnormally cold across the eastern half of the country outside New England, extending through northern portions of the West early in the period, while warmer than normal conditions cover the southwestern quarter of the United States. In the wake of the recent storm that swept through the East during the first day of this period, near to above normal precipitation is anticipated in the Northwest and New England while below normal precipitation seems likely across a broad section of the country covering the Southwest, the central and southern Rockies, the central and southern Plains states, and in areas along and south of the central Mississippi Valley, the lower Ohio Valley, and the mid-Atlantic states.
SOURCE: National Drought Mitigation Center