U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Jan. 8 (Text)Stephen Rose
Following is the text of the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor as released by the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska:
This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw minor modifications as the conterminous U.S. experienced relatively tranquil weather conditions. Some modest amounts of precipitation fell over the central Gulf Coast states, California, and the Pacific Northwest while some lesser amounts were observed over portions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Overall, temperatures across much of the conterminous U.S. were well below normal except for portions of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northern Great Plains, and the Upper Great Lakes region where temperatures were above average. The northern Great Basin, Intermountain West, and central Rocky Mountains experienced well-below-normal temperatures during the last week, and numerous records were broken. In Alaska, temperatures were well above normal during the last week while the Hawaiian Islands experienced generally cooler-than-normal conditions. The Northeast: The region received minor amounts of precipitation during the past week, and conditions on the map remained unchanged. Temperatures throughout the region were slightly below normal during the past seven-day period. Mid-Atlantic: Overall, the Mid-Atlantic was generally dry during the last week, except for some light shower activity over southeastern Virginia. Average temperatures in the region were generally near normal. No changes were made on this week’s map for the region. The Southeast: The Southeast remained relatively dry during the past week, with the exception of some scattered showers over portions of northern Alabama, northern Georgia, and northwestern South Carolina. Recent rainfall accumulations led to one category improvements in northwestern Georgia. Continued short- term dryness and increased wildfire risk led to the expansion and introduction of Abnormally Dry (D0) areas in south Florida. Temperatures in the region during the past week were well above normal over most of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. The South: Some scattered shower activity over the region helped to alleviate some Abnormally Dry (D0) areas in southwestern Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast of Texas, as well as areas of Extreme Drought (D3) and Exceptional Drought (D4) in southern Texas. Some slight deterioration of conditions related to short- term precipitation deficits led to minor expansion of Severe Drought (D2) and Extreme Drought (D3) in the Hill Country of Texas while recent snow accumulations and cool temperatures in the Panhandle led to minor improvements from Exceptional Drought (D4) to Extreme Drought (D3) and a new area of Severe Drought (D2). Throughout this region, temperatures were below normal during the past week. Midwest: Overall, the Midwest was generally dry during the past week with the exception of some scattered snow showers over central Illinois and mixed rain/snow over Missouri. Some minor modifications were made to the map joining areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) in southeastern Indiana and southwestern Ohio to reflect lingering dryness in the region. Temperatures in the southern tier were below normal, while the Northern Great Lakes Region experienced warmer-than-normal conditions. The Plains: The region continued to experience an overall dry pattern during the past seven-day period with the exception of some light rainfall in portions of Oklahoma and scattered snow showers over Kansas. Shorter-term (30-day) snowfall accumulations in the northern portion of North Dakota led to improvements from Moderate Drought (D1) to Abnormally Dry (D0) as well as a return to normal conditions in the northwestern part of the state. In the Northern Plains, temperatures were above average for the period while the Central and Southern Plains experienced near-normal to below-normal conditions. The West: During the last seven-day period, the West was generally dry with only some light rainfall over portions of central California. Current snowpack conditions show significant deficits in snow water content over the mountains of Colorado, New Mexico, northeastern Nevada, eastern Oregon, eastern Wyoming, and sections of northern Montana. Conversely, notable surpluses exist over the Cascades, Sierras, Sawtooths, Uintas, and the mountains of Arizona. Short-term precipitation accumulations since October 1 led to categorical improvements in areas of the Great Basin and eastern Sierra Nevada along the California-Nevada border. The two areas of Extreme Drought (D3) in the Great Basin saw reductions to Severe Drought (D2) due to the net effect of short-term precipitation accumulations. Temperatures over the West have been well below normal with the exception of large portions of Montana and northwestern Wyoming. During the past week, the Great Basin, Intermountain West, southern Idaho, southeastern Oregon, and western Colorado experienced well-below-normal temperatures with minimums ranging from -10° F to -30° F. Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: The Hawaiian Islands saw some slight improvements as a result of wet trade winds delivering moisture to the windward areas, while some lesser accumulations also carried over to the leeward sides of the smaller islands. The islands of Maui and Molokai saw slight expansion of Extreme Drought (D3) in response to deteriorating pasture conditions. Looking Ahead: For the remainder of the week, the conterminous U.S. will shift toward a more active weather pattern. The NWS HPC 5-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for heavy precipitation to fall over eastern Texas as well as portions of the Lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. The Pacific Northwest will remain in an active pattern this week as will the Northern Rockies. Temperatures are forecasted to be above average east of the Rockies while most of the West will continue to remain well below normal. The 6-10 day outlooks call for a high probability of below-normal precipitation west of the Rockies and an elevated probability of above-normal precipitation in the eastern half of the conterminous U.S. In Alaska, the 6-10 day forecasts call for an elevated probability of above-normal precipitation and temperatures.
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