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U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Nov. 6 (Text)

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

After last week’s devastation caused by Hurricane/Superstorm
Sandy, calmer conditions slowly returned as the storm weakened
over the eastern Great Lakes region and tracked northward. In
its place, an upper-level trough of low pressure settled over
the Northeast, producing unsettled weather (light precipitation
and subnormal temperatures) to much of the Great Lakes region,
New England, and mid-Atlantic. Unfortunately, a new Nor’easter
threatened areas hit by Sandy as the period ended.  In the West,
a series of Pacific systems dropped moderate to heavy
precipitation (1 to 3 inches, locally up to 8 inches) on
northern California, coastal Oregon, western Washington, and the
northern Rockies. Meanwhile, a persistent ridge of high pressure
located over the central Rockies kept the Southwest, Great
Basin, and southern halves of the Rockies and Plains
unseasonably mild and dry. The weakened Pacific storm systems
were diverted northeastward into south-central Canada by the
ridge, then southeastward by the eastern trough into the
northern Plains, lower Missouri Valley, the Delta, and across
the Southeast. This brought light precipitation (0.1 to 0.5
inches, locally an inch) to the aforementioned regions. In
Hawaii, mostly dry weather prevailed while stormy weather soaked
the southeast Alaskan Panhandle.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: As Superstorm Sandy gradually
weakened over the eastern Great Lakes region and slowly tracked
northward into southeast Canada, windy, cold, and showery
weather enveloped the region. Light to moderate precipitation
amounts (0.3 to 1 inch) fell on the eastern Great Lakes region,
New England, and the mid-Atlantic, with locally over 2 inches in
northeastern Ohio and most of Maine. With another 1 to 1.5
inches of rain, long-term deficits were reduced enough in
central New York (Tompkins, Otsego, and Schoharie counties) that
D0 was erased. However, lighter totals fell east of eastern Lake
Ontario during Sandy, and with growing short-term deficits, D0
was expanded into Jefferson County.

Farther south, little or no rain (less than 0.3 inches) fell on
southern Virginia and adjacent central North Carolina, adding to
short-term (30- and 60-days) departures. USGS stream flows have
dropped below the 25th percentile at 1-, 7-, 14-, and 28-days at
several sites. Accordingly, D0 was expanded southward, and this
area will be closely monitored for future deterioration.

The Southeast: Although light rains (0.3 to 0.8 inches) fell on
most of Alabama and Georgia this week, short-term dryness (past
30 and 60 days) have accumulated deficits of 2 to 4 and 3 to 6
inches, respectively, from southeastern Alabama northeastward
into central North Carolina. In fact, the central and eastern
Carolinas saw little or no rain this 7-day period. This short-
term dryness comes in the face of a severe 2-year drought where
the deficits were never truly alleviated. As a result, D0 was
expanded into southwestern Alabama and across northeastern
Georgia and western South Carolina. Surplus amounts at 90-days
across north-central North Carolina and the Piedmont prevented
D0 development from connecting with D0 in south-central
Virginia, but continued dryness will probably require a broad D0
expansion there soon. D1 expansion occurred in southeastern
Alabama, central South Carolina, and south-central North
Carolina, while D2 increased into southeastern Alabama and
western South Carolina. The D3 and D4 areas were redrawn to
reflect the largest AHPS deficits at 180-days and year-to-date.
The two areas of worst long-term drought (at 1 and 2 years)
stretched from southwestern Georgia northeast into west-central
South Carolina, and from east-central Alabama northeast into
northwestern Georgia. For example, Augusta, GA, only received
0.17 inches of rain the past 30 days, and was nearly 30 inches
below normal over the past 24 months (driest on record since
1942). Numerous USGS stream levels are below the tenth
percentile, and several are at near- to record lows for early

The Southern Plains and Delta: According to the 1981-2010
normals, October is the third wettest month for the Texas, but
instead last month was one third of normal and the ninth driest
October statewide since 1895. This week offered little change to
the dry theme as much of Texas and Oklahoma recorded above
normal temperatures and little or no rain. The lone exception
was in southeastern Texas (1 to 3 inches). In Oklahoma, the OCS
Mesonet noted that it has been 52 days since parts of the state
have seen at least 0.25 inches of rain in one day. The
combination of warm and dry weather was taking a toll on grasses
and small grains. Winter wheat was running out of moisture and
was rated 30 percent poor to very poor as of Nov. 4, up from 12
percent a week ago. Topsoil moisture conditions continued to
decline, with 88 percent rated short to very short, while
subsoil moisture similarly rated dropped to 94 percent. With the
recent unfavorable weather conditions, deteriorations were made
to Oklahoma (D3 and D4) and most of Texas (D1-D4). With so much
of Oklahoma already in D3 and D4, it is getting difficult to
degrade the state further. An exception was in extreme
southeastern Colorado (Baca County) and the immediate area where
further assessment of indices and actual conditions warranted an
improvement from D3 to D2. In contrast, the rains in southeast
Texas were enough to remove D0 in Polk and San Jacinto counties;
however, but drier conditions to the east expanded D0 into
southwestern Louisiana while D1 was added in extreme
southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana due to short-term
(60-day) shortages of 6 to 9 inches.

In the Delta, rains were more scattered, with the greatest
totals in extreme southern Louisiana (1 to 2 inches), most of
Mississippi (0.5 to 1.5 inches), and southern Arkansas (0.3 to 1
inch). From 60-days out to a year, most of Arkansas has reported
near or above normal precipitation, and after a reassessment of
all indices and products, improvements of a category were made
across most of the state (except the northwest) which
corresponded to AHPS, ACIS, and CPC anomalies at medium- to
long-term time scales.

Central and Northern Plains and Midwest: Weekly weather
conditions contrasted as one traveled from the central Plains
(warm and dry) to the northern Plains and upper Midwest (cool
and showery). Similar to Oklahoma, Kansas also recorded little
or no precipitation with temperatures averaging 2 to 8 degF
above normal. As this was the third straight week with minimal
precipitation, a 1-category downgrade was made for east-central
Kansas as eastern sections of the state normally record greater
cold season moisture than western areas so shortfalls accumulate
at a greater rate. No changes were made in western Kansas and
most of Nebraska as much of it is already in D3-D4, leaving
little room for downgrade. Topsoil and subsoil moisture
continued to drop, and surface water supplies remained short.
With light precipitation and subnormal temperatures, no changes
were made in South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and
Missouri. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul, MN, said
that they are preparing to store future precipitation within the
Mississippi River Headwaters reservoirs during the next few
weeks in an effort to ease drought conditions and support
navigation south of St. Louis, MO, later this year. In northern
North Dakota and westward into Montana, another week of light
precipitation (0.3 to 0.8 inches) aided soil moisture
conditions, resulting in a 1-category improvement. But drier
conditions in southwestern North Dakota slightly expanded D2
there.  Farther east, light to moderate precipitation (0.5 to an
inch) and a reassessment of medium- to long-term conditions
resulted in some 1-category improvements in lower Michigan and
parts of the lower Ohio River Valley. In central Kentucky, a dry
30 days (2 to 4 inch deficits) have brought out lingering soil
moisture deficiencies created earlier this summer, and D0 was
expanded there.

The West: Decent precipitation (more than 2 inches) fell on non-
drought areas of Washington, Oregon, and northern Idaho, while 3
consecutive weeks of light to moderate precipitation have fallen
across Montana. Surpluses of 1 to 3 inches have accumulated
during the past 30 days, easing drought across the northern two-
thirds of the latter state. In addition, a slight improvement of
dryness and drought were made along the edges of the D0 and D1
western borders in northern California, central Oregon, and
central Idaho where recent storms have dropped enough
precipitation to create small 30-day surpluses. Although the
2012-13 Western Water Year is still early, basin average
precipitation percent of normals were above normal from the
northern Sierra Nevada northeastward into central Montana.
Unfortunately, the Great Basin and Southwest were well below
normal, but their typical wet season generally starts later in
the winter. Elsewhere, slight degradations were made in New
Mexico based upon several indices and products. D2 was expanded
into southeastern and north-central portions, while D3 increased
in northeastern sections. The remainder of the West was left
status quo, except for changing the Impact Type to L (from SL)
as the short-term dryness has recently abated.

Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: In Hawaii, October was very dry
as 19 sites broke records for driest October ever (11 on Oahu, 5
on Kauai, 2 on Big Island, 1 on Molokai). The dry weather
pattern continued into the first few days of November as little
or no rain fell across the state during the first 4 days.
Finally, 24-hour totals ending 8am HST on Nov. 6 saw light
showers (0.25 to 0.5 inches) on the windward sides of Oahu and
Maui, and 1 to 2 inches on the windward side of the Big Island.
Accordingly, the areas of Hawaii previously with no abnormal
dryness were put into D0. Interestingly, the FSA folks stated
that the windward farmers enjoy the dry weather as long as it
does not last too long as it allows them to do field operations
and planting. Western Oahu was degraded to D2 as cattle ranchers
have destocked pastures due to poor conditions. In central
(Upcountry) Maui, the Olinda water treatment facility had to
reduce its water production due to low supply levels, resulting
in an expansion of D1 and D2 northward into the Pukalani and
Haiku areas. In contrast, a 1-category improvement was made to
Maui’s D3 southeastern side where Kepuni measured over 4 inches
of rain during October, or 268 percent of normal.

No change was made in northern Alaska as the ground has frozen
for the season. Conditions will be assessed during the late
spring thaw. There is no dryness or drought in Puerto Rico.

Looking Ahead: During the next 5 days (November 8-12), a
Nor’easter will impact the Northeast with strong winds, coastal
rains, and inland snows before departing this Saturday.
Meanwhile, unsettled weather will envelop the West as subnormal
temperatures and showers replace this week’s abnormal warmth.
The largest precipitation amounts are expected in the northern
Rockies and Plains. Late in the period, a cold front is expected
to produce moderate to heavy rain from eastern Texas northward
to the upper Great Lakes region. Greatest totals (1.5-2.5
inches) are expected from western Arkansas northward into
southern Wisconsin. Temperatures will average above normal in
the eastern half of the Nation, and below normal in the West.

For the 6-10 day outlook (November 13-17), the odds favor above
normal precipitation in the Northwest, eastern third of the
Nation, and northern and western Alaska while subnormal
precipitation is expected in the central Rockies and Plains and
southeastern Alaska. Unseasonable warmth is predicted for the
northeastern quarter of the U.S. and extreme northern Alaska
while odds are tilted toward subnormal readings in the West and
southern Alaska.

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