U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Jan. 1 (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: Two weather systems moved across the country
during the last 7 days, dropping abundant precipitation from the
Lower Mississippi Valley to the Southeast and Northeast, with a
third system developing at year’s end.  Above-normal
precipitation also fell across parts of the West, mostly in the
Great Basin, from these systems  The cumulative impact of
precipitation during this week and previous weeks resulted in
contraction of drought areas in the West, South, and East.  But
drought expanded in those areas which missed out on the
beneficial precipitation.

The Northeast to Mid-Atlantic: Another week of widespread 1 to
2-inch precipitation across the Northeast further contracted D0
over New York.  The remaining D0 reflected lingering
precipitation deficits at the 2 to 12 month time scales.  The D1
in central Virginia expanded to West Virginia in an area which
received below-normal precipitation this week and which had
notable deficits at longer time scales.

Southeast to South: A large area of 2+-inch rains fell from
eastern Texas to the western Carolinas, with several reports
from Texas to Alabama exceeding 4 inches.  Widespread
improvement in the drought depiction was made, with D0-D2 being
pulled back across parts of eastern Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas,
Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas.  The area of D4 from east
central Alabama to west central Georgia was eliminated and D2-D4
pulled back in the vicinity of Athens, Georgia.  D0 was shaved
in Mississippi and Tennessee.  It should be noted that, while
the beneficial rains have improved short-term moisture
conditions, the precipitation was mostly being soaked into the
ground to improve soil moisture.  Streamflow levels improved in
some areas, but many lakes responded slowly if at all, and long-
term moisture deficits remained, especially in Alabama, Georgia,
and the Carolinas.  An area of L impacts was added where the
heaviest rains fell and short-term dryness was eliminated.
Meanwhile, dry weather continued across much of western,
central, and Deep South Texas, where areas of D0-D4 expanded.

The Plains and Midwest: Additional snow fell across parts of the
central Plains - enough to arrest further deterioration but
insufficient to improve the drought depiction.  Precipitation in
Oklahoma had little impact on reservoir and lake levels, and
agricultural reports indicated that soil moisture remained
depleted and the condition of small grains and canola across the
state continued to deteriorate.  On the other hand, even though
precipitation was generally below normal across the western
Great Lakes this week, above-normal precipitation in recent
weeks prompted the contraction of D2 from Lake County, Illinois
and Kenosha, Racine, and Walworth counties in Wisconsin where
long-term deficits have shrunk considerably.

The West: Pacific systems dropped half an inch of precipitation
across much of the West Coast and parts of the Great Basin, with
up to 2 inches of precipitation falling across parts of the Far
West.  Most of the coastal precipitation fell outside of current
drought areas.  However, storm systems of the last few weeks
have contributed to a normal or above-normal snowpack from the
Sierra Nevada to Washington State and across parts of the Great
Basin to Northern Rockies.  As a result, D0-D2 was trimmed in
northeast California and adjacent Nevada, D3 was shaved in
northwest Nevada, D2-D3 was pulled back in northeast to central
Utah, and the area of SL impacts in the Great Basin was
contracted to cover the region from northeast Nevada to
southeast Oregon.  On the other hand, the Southwest has
continued to miss out on most of the beneficial precipitation.
D3 expanded in northwest and east central New Mexico and D2
expanded in Catron County in west central New Mexico where long-
term deficits continued or worsened.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: Precipitation has been below
normal over southeast Puerto Rico for several months and
streamflows are dropping, so a spot of D0 was added.  In Alaska,
drier-than-normal weather continued over much of the state, with
snow water content 21% of normal in the Koyukuk Basin, where a
spot of D1S was added.  No change was made to Hawaii this week.

Looking Ahead:  The active weather pattern of the last few weeks
will settle down during the next five days (January 3-7).  Half
an inch to an inch of precipitation is projected to fall across
parts of southwest Texas, the Gulf of Mexico states, the coastal
Southeast, the eastern Great Lakes, and far northwest Washington
State.  Otherwise, it should be mostly dry across the country.
Temperatures should moderate in the Northern Plains and East but
cool off in the West.

The CPC 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts (for January 8-16) show
the highest likelihood of above-normal precipitation for much of
the country east of the Rockies and below-normal precipitation
from California to the Southern Rockies.  Temperatures are
expected to average below normal for the West and above normal
for the East.  Western and southern coastal Alaska should be
wetter and warmer than normal.
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