This week's National Drought Monitor reflects the mounting lack of precipitation in western Texas and the Texas Panhandle, which led to expansion in all drought classes in those areas including expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4). In Kansas, Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded in the north-central and western part of the State. Minor improvements in Exceptional Drought (D3) were made around southeastern Louisiana and in south-central Texas.
Moderate Drought (D1) improved in North and South Dakota and in northeast Nebraska. Abnormal Dryness (D0) improved in South Dakota. In the Midwest, conditions improved slightly in northwest Iowa with contraction of Severe Drought (D2).
In its outlook, the monitor says from March 8-12, there is an enhanced probability of precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and ranging from the Southern Plains into the Southeast. Below-normal precipitation is expected through much of the West and throughout the Great Lakes and New England. "For the ensuing 5 days (March 13-17, 2012), the odds favor normal to warmer than normal conditions over the entire US with the exception of the Pacific Coast and Alaska, where odds favor below normal conditions. In New England, the extreme Southwest, and Alaska the odds favor below normal precipitation while the northern Pacific Coast and a large are from the South, through the Southeast and into the Ohio Valley and Midwest are expected to see above normal precipitation," it notes.