Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:
Weather Summary: Over the last 7 days, a couple winter storm systems moved across the United States, bringing much-needed precipitation to some of the drought areas. Widespread areas of an inch or more of precipitation occurred across the East and parts of the Midwest, with locally 2+ inches of rain. The drought depiction was improved where the heaviest precipitation occurred, but generally the precipitation this week was not enough to ease long-term deficits. Half an inch to an inch of precipitation fell over parts of the Rockies and intermountain basin. Two inches to over 5 inches of precipitation occurred over much of the West Coast, but generally not over drought areas. No precipitation was observed over parts of the southern Plains, northern High Plains, Upper Midwest, and southern Florida. The Northeast: Widespread 1+-inch rains occurred across the Northeast, with locally 2+ inches. D0 in New York was contracted where this week’s rains erased precipitation departures out to 90 days. The SL impacts label was changed to L to reflect the beneficial short-term precipitation. Southeast to Mid-Atlantic: A half-inch to locally 2+ inches of rain fell over a large part of the Southeast. It did little, however, to erase long-term deficits which, across large areas, ranged from 4 to 8 inches for the last 90 days, 4 to 12 inches at 6 months, and up to 16 inches for the last 12 months in Georgia and Alabama. However, some improvement was made where 2 to 3 inches of rain fell. D2 and D3 were pulled back in north Georgia, D1 in western North Carolina, and D0-D2 in central Alabama. The rain missed the Atlantic coastal areas and much of Florida. D1 expanded in southeast Georgia and D0S expanded in south Florida to reflect growing deficits. South: Except for eastern areas, much of Texas and Oklahoma received little to no precipitation this week. D3-D4 expanded in Deep South Texas and north central to northeast Oklahoma. The drought has lowered lake levels that serve north central Oklahoma communities to the point that they could run out of water soon, according to media reports. Midwest: A second week of widespread precipitation over much of the area was welcomed. Amounts were generally half an inch with locally an inch or more. But with longer-term deficits of several inches, little change was made. Only D0 was trimmed a bit in southwest Ohio. The Plains: A blanket of snow was laid down from south central Nebraska toward the Great Lakes, but with less than an inch of moisture equivalent, no change was made in Nebraska. The precipitation largely missed areas to the south, so D3 expanded in southeast Kansas and D2 expanded in southwest Missouri. But D3 was pulled back in central Iowa and D2 contracted in south central Iowa, east central Iowa, and adjacent northwest Illinois where the heaviest precipitation fell. The West: With only half an inch of precipitation falling over parts of Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, and lesser amounts over much of the rest of the western U.S. drought areas, little change was made to the drought depiction. Heavy precipitation (5 inches or more) occurred over the coastal West, but mainly over areas that were drought-free. D2 was pulled back from Kings County in California due to an inch or more of precipitation. Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: The windward areas of Hawaii received rain during the week, with 4+ inches being reported at eastern stations on the Big Island. D0 and D1 were pulled back on the east slopes of the Big Island above about 3000 feet elevation. No change was made to Puerto Rico this week, but D0 expanded across southeastern Alaska due to below-normal precipitation, snowpack, and streamflow. Looking Ahead: Below-normal temperatures should dominate much of the country as an upper-level trough digs in over the next five days (December 26-30), continuing an active weather pattern with multiple winter storm systems. Precipitation amounts are forecast to be less than an inch across most of the West (except 1.0-1.5 inches along the coast) and parts of the Southeast, but 1.0-2.5 inches from the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast. A swath of half-inch precipitation may blanket the northern Plains, but otherwise the Plains should be mostly dry. The CPC 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts (for January 1-9) show a return of above-normal temperatures to the north central region, continued below-normal temperatures in the Southwest, and below- normal temperatures in the East slowly shifting to the Northeast. Precipitation is expected to be above normal from the southern Plains to Mid-Atlantic states and in the eastern Great Lakes, while the forecast favors below-normal precipitation for much of the West, northern to central Plains, Upper Midwest, and New England. Alaska is expected to be warmer and wetter than normal.