The National Drought Monitor reflects another week of above-normal precipitation from Oklahoma through central and eastern Texas and into Louisiana alleviated drought there. In Louisiana, up to 15 inches of rain fell on March 12-13, mainly in areas unaffected by drought. Flooding plagued large areas and a state of emergency was declared by the governor. Severe (D2) and Moderate (D1) Drought and Abnormal Dryness (D0) were alleviated in the western and southern part of the state.
In Texas, areas of Severe (D2) and Moderate (D1) Drought and Abnormal Dryness (D0) were alleviated in the central and eastern part of the state while Extreme Drought (D3) expanded slightly in the south. "In Oklahoma, widespread rains led to considerable improvements in most areas, with the exception of the western Panhandle," states the monitor. "Across Oklahoma, Exceptional (D4), Extreme (D3), Severe (D2), and Moderate (D1) Drought all decreased. In certain areas, this left behind lingering Abnormal Dryness (D0). In Kansas, areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded in the north and west."
The Central and Northern Plains and Midwest, conditions improved slightly in northern North Dakota as a result of a multi-day rain event. "In Nebraska, Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded over a large portion of the western part of the state based upon mounting long-term deficits beginning to be felt as agriculture ramps up for the year," it adds.
During the March 15-19, 2012 time period, there is an enhanced probability of precipitation in the Pacific Northwest throughout the period and in the central part of the country late in the period. Temperatures are expected to be above normal east of the Rockies.
For the ensuing 5 days (March 20-24, 2012), the odds favor normal to warmer than normal conditions over the entire U.S., east of the Rockies. West of that, normal to below-normal temperatures are expected. Precipitation is expected to be below-normal along the East Coast and in the Southwest. Above-normal precipitation is expected in the Northwest and from the Southern Plains through the Midwest. In Alaska, both temperatures and precipitation are expected to be normal to below-normal.