According to the National Drought Monitor, some modest amounts of precipitation fell over the central Gulf Coast states, California and the Pacific Northwest while some lesser amounts were observed over portions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states -- resulting in slight drought improvement. Overall, temperatures across much of the conterminous U.S. were well below normal except for portions of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northern Great Plains and the Upper Great Lakes region where temperatures were above average. The northern Great Basin, Intermountain West and central Rocky Mountains experienced well-below-normal temperatures during the last week, and numerous records were broken. Across the contiguous U.S., 28.26% of the region is now drought-free, which is a slight improvement from 27.22% last week.
Across the South, some scattered shower activity helped to alleviate some Abnormally Dry (D0) areas in southwestern Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast of Texas, as well as areas of Extreme Drought (D3) and Exceptional Drought (D4) in southern Texas. "Some slight deterioration of conditions related to short-term precipitation deficits led to minor expansion of Severe Drought (D2) and Extreme Drought (D3) in the Hill Country of Texas while recent snow accumulations and cool temperatures in the Panhandle led to minor improvements from Exceptional Drought (D4) to Extreme Drought (D3) and a new area of Severe Drought (D2). Throughout this region, temperatures were below normal during the past week," it notes.
Overall, the Midwest was generally dry during the past week with the exception of some scattered snow showers over central Illinois and mixed rain/snow over Missouri. "Some minor modifications were made to the map joining areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) in southeastern Indiana and southwestern Ohio to reflect lingering dryness in the region. Temperatures in the southern tier were below normal, while the Northern Great Lakes Region experienced warmer-than-normal conditions," notes the monitor.
The Plains region continued to experience an overall dry pattern during the past seven-day period with the exception of some light rainfall in portions of Oklahoma and scattered snow showers over Kansas. "Shorter-term (30-day) snowfall accumulations in the northern portion of North Dakota led to improvements from Moderate Drought (D1) to Abnormally Dry (D0) as well as a return to normal conditions in the northwestern part of the state," it states. "In the Northern Plains, temperatures were above average for the period while the Central and Southern Plains experienced near-normal to below-normal conditions."
More drought relief possible for Texas --
For the remainder of the week, the conterminous U.S. will shift toward a more active weather pattern. "The NWS HPC 5-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for heavy precipitation to fall over eastern Texas as well as portions of the Lower Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. The Pacific Northwest will remain in an active pattern this week as will the Northern Rockies," states the outlook. "Temperatures are forecasted to be above average east of the Rockies while most of the West will continue to remain well below normal. The 6–10 day outlooks call for a high probability of below-normal precipitation west of the Rockies and an elevated probability of above-normal precipitation in the eastern half of the conterminous U.S. In Alaska, the 6–10 day forecasts call for an elevated probability of above-normal precipitation and temperatures."