U.S. Drought Monitor Report for the Week Ending Jan. 15 (Text)

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 overall improvements as
significant rain fell across portions of the South, Southeast,
lower Midwest, and portions of the Mid-Atlantic states. In the
West, heavy snow fell over the Wasatch Range in Utah as well as
in the Northern Rockies and North Cascades. Conditions continued
to deteriorate in parts of the Southeast, Southern Plains, and
Colorado. Overall, temperatures continued to be well below
normal across the West, while the eastern half of the
conterminous U.S. experienced temperatures well above average -
especially in the Southeast and portions of the Upper Midwest
and New England. In Alaska, temperatures were well above normal
throughout most of the state, while precipitation was slightly
above normal except in southeastern Alaska, which continued to
be drier than normal.  Temperatures and precipitation in the
Hawaiian Islands last week were generally near normal.

The Northeast: Overall, the region was dry during the past week,
and conditions on the map remain unchanged. Temperatures
throughout the region were well above normal, especially in the
northern half of New York, northern Vermont, and large portions
of Maine during the past seven-day period.

Mid-Atlantic: The Mid-Atlantic region saw minor improvements as
rainfall in excess of two inches fell over southwestern and
south-central Virginia. Streamflow conditions in these regions
saw improvement leading to one-category improvements in areas of
Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1). Average
temperatures in the region were above normal.

The Southeast: The northwestern half of the Southeast received
abundant rainfall during the past week. Areas including the
northern two-thirds of Alabama, northwestern Georgia, and
western North Carolina saw rainfall totals ranging from two-to-
five inches, helping to ease drought conditions. However,
Florida, southeastern Alabama, most of Georgia, and South
Carolina remained dry. In northwestern Georgia, one-category
drought intensity improvements were made in areas of Abnormally
Dry (D0), Moderate Drought (D1), Severe Drought (D2), and
Extreme Drought (D3). In western North Carolina, moderate
precipitation totals in combination with improving reservoir and
streamflow conditions led to improvements in areas of Abnormally
Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1), while extreme western
locations returned to normal conditions. In Florida and southern
Georgia, continued short-term precipitation deficits led to the
expansion of Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormally Dry (D0).
Portions of southwestern and northwestern Alabama saw areas of
Abnormally Dry (D0) removed. Temperatures during the past week
were well above normal throughout the region.

The South: Widespread heavy rainfall over Arkansas, Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Texas led to improvements throughout the
region. Areas of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and the
eastern half of Texas saw rainfall totals ranging from two
inches to more than ten inches in southern Louisiana. In Texas,
this week’s heavy rains and short-term (30-day) gains led to a
widespread re-evaluation of drought conditions statewide. In the
Panhandle, overall cooler than normal temperatures during the
past 30 days in combination with snow on the ground helped to
improve soil conditions. Areas of Exceptional Drought (D4) and
Extreme Drought (D3) saw categorical improvements in the Hill
Country, north-central Texas, the Panhandle, and South Texas.
East Texas and southwestern Texas saw areas of Abnormally Dry
(D0) return to normal condition while areas of Severe Drought
(D2) and Moderate Drought (D1) in the Coastal Plains retreated
westward. In Mississippi, four-to-six inches of rain this past
week helped northern portions of the state return to normal
conditions from Abnormally Dry (D0). The western half of
Arkansas saw one-category improvements in areas of Extreme
Drought (D3) and Severe Drought (D2), while western Tennessee
saw improvements from Moderate Drought (D1) to Abnormally Dry

Midwest: The southern portions of the Midwest received heavy
rainfall during the past seven days. Substantial precipitation
was concentrated over southern Illinois, Indiana, western
Kentucky, and southeastern Missouri with totals ranging from two
to five inches. Improvements were made in southeastern Missouri
from Severe Drought (D2) to Moderate Drought (D1) as well as a
south and westward retreat of Moderate Drought (D1) in southern
Illinois, western Kentucky, and southeastern Missouri. Much of
the Upper Midwest - including Iowa, Minnesota, the Upper
Peninsula of Michigan, and Wisconsin - remained dry.
Temperatures throughout the region were well above normal for
the period.

The Plains: The region continued to experience an overall dry
pattern during the past seven-day period with the exception of
some light-to-moderate rainfall over portions of Oklahoma and
southern Kansas. In Oklahoma, conditions in the extreme
southeastern region saw improvements from Extreme Drought (D3)
to Severe Drought (D2) as two-to-three inches of rain fell.
Conversely, in north-central Oklahoma persistent dry conditions
and record low reservoir conditions led Payne County to declare
a state of emergency as Lone Chimney Lake receded to eleven feet
below normal. The reservoir provides water to nearly 16,000
residents in seven counties. In south-central Kansas, recent
rains led to a minor reduction in an area of Exceptional Drought
(D4), while the rest of the Plains region is unchanged on this
week’s map.  Temperatures were below normal over the western
half of the Plains, while the eastern half was above normal for
the week.

The West: During the last seven-day period, the southern half of
the West was generally dry. The northern half saw snowfall over
the mountains of the eastern Great Basin, Idaho, northwestern
Wyoming, southern Oregon, southwestern Colorado, western
Montana, Utah, and Washington. Heavy snowfall in excess of
twenty inches was observed in the Wasatch Range of Utah and the
North Cascades of Washington. Current snowpack conditions show
significant deficits in snow water content persisting over the
mountains of Colorado, New Mexico, northeastern Nevada, eastern
Oregon, eastern Wyoming, southeastern and west-central Idaho,
and sections of northern Montana. Conversely, notable surpluses
exist over the Cascades of Washington, northwestern Great Basin,
Sierras, Sawtooths, Uintas, and the mountains of Arizona. Short-
term precipitation accumulations during the last 60 days led to
one-category improvements in areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and
Moderate Drought (D1) over the Bay Area, northern portions of
the Central Coast, and northern San Joaquin Valley of
California.  Continued lack of snowfall over Colorado led to
expansion of Extreme Drought (D3) over central Colorado as well
as deterioration of the Moderate Drought (D1) region over the
northern Front Range. Temperatures throughout the West continued
to be well below normal, especially over large portions of
Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico: The Hawaiian Islands saw some
slight improvements on the island of Kauai as pasture conditions
continued to improve with recent rainfalls. On Kauai, one-
category improvements were made on the map. On the Big Island,
deteriorating pasture conditions on the western side led to the
expansion of areas of Severe Drought (D2) and Moderate Drought
(D1). In Alaska, temperatures during the past week were well
above normal in parts of western Alaska, while the southern
portion of Southeast Alaska experienced below- normal
temperatures. Precipitation during the last 30 days in Southeast
Alaska was well below normal, while western Alaska, the
Aleutians, and South-central was above normal. Alaska and Puerto
Rico remain status quo on the map this week.

Looking Ahead: The NWS HPC 5-Day Quantitative Precipitation
Forecast (QPF) shows moderate precipitation amounts over the
Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states, while snowfall is expected
over the North Plains, Upper Midwest, and New England. The 6-10
day outlooks call for a high probability of below-normal
precipitation across much of the conterminous U.S. with
exception of portions of the Upper Great Lakes Region and the
southern half of Alaska. Temperatures forecasted on the 6-10 day
outlooks call for a high probability of below-normal
temperatures in the eastern U.S, particularly in the Midwest and
New England, while most of the West has an elevated probability
of above-normal temperatures except for the Intermountain
regions. Temperatures in Alaska have a high probability of being
above normal.
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