According to the National Drought Monitor, 27.22% of the continuous U.S. is drought-free, which is a slight improvement from 26.16% last week. Around a two-percentage-point improvement was noted in the South, while little change across the Upper Plains and Midwest was reported.
The monitor notes 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," it states. "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."
In its outlook, the monitor notes: "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."