According to the National Drought Monitor, a welcome sign of drought relief came in the form of rain to parts of eastern Oklahoma, with one-category improvement was made along the Canadian River and south to the Texas border. Other areas warranted changes in southern Arkansas and northern Louisiana, after a review of the last 30 to 45 days of above normal precipitation. This area is now mostly in D0 (Abnormally Dry) conditions.
"A small area of southwestern Kansas is degraded this week to D3, (Extreme Drought). Ongoing precipitation deficits and declining vegetation health were motivation for this one-category change. D0 is also expanded in western Kansas to include Greeley and Wichita counties, and areas just north of there, to account for short-term rainfall deficits," notes the monitor.
The outlook is encouraging for snow seekers as a large-scale pattern has finally shifted into a wetter regime for many states over the next several days, states the monitor. "Forecasts are projecting 10-15 inches of rain over the next five days along the Pacific coast of northern California and Oregon. At least a few feet of snow is possible in the mountain ranges of the northwest states to include the Cascades, Rockies and Sierra Nevada. Lesser amounts of snow and rain are projected across the eastern half of the Lower 48," notes the monitor. "Widespread totals over the five day period could amount to about an inch, with localized areas possibly reporting more than two inches in the southern Appalachians. Colder-than-normal temperatures will continue to hold on to Alaska, while warmer-than-normal temperatures may build over much of the contiguous U.S. by the end of the next U.S. Drought Monitor period. After a frontal system just affected Hawaii over the last day or so, it appears as if it will be set into a drier trend for the next couple of days, before the next system passes through."