U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Dec. 25 (Text)

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

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

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.
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