According to the National Drought Monitor, a continuing dry pattern that has enveloped the High Plains most of the winter continued. No changes were made this week to the region as the little precipitation did not allow for any improvements and the time of year did not dictate any degradation. However, some minor changes were made to the Southern Plains where a winter storm brought wet snow to much of the Texas Panhandle and into portions of Oklahoma.
Areas of the Midwest that did record precipitation this week generally had amounts less than 1 inch, with most areas receiving less than 0.50 inches, notes the monitor. "In and around the St. Louis area, some adjustments were made in both Illinois and Missouri based on field reports and current conditions. Even with precipitation, there has been a very slow response to pond and lake levels, and soil moisture at the deepest depths is still quite dry. In eastern Missouri, some D2 was improved to D1 while D1 was expanded to the east slightly. In Illinois, the D0 along the Mississippi River was expanded to the east and south," it states.
In its outlook, the monitor states over the next five days (February 20-24) the forecast is to remain active with a series of storm systems moving out of the southwest and onto the Plains and Midwest. "The precipitation associated with the period is from around 1 inch in Colorado and Nebraska to 1.50 inches in portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas," it states. "The Southeast will remain wet, with projected totals of 2 to 5 inches over Louisiana and into the Carolinas. Temperatures during this time will be below normal over much of the United States outside of south Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Temperatures will range from 18 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in the central Plains to 6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in Florida and south Texas."