According to the National Drought Monitor, drought covers 53.37% of the contiguous U.S., which is up slightly from 52.57% last week. Slight deterioration was noted across the Midwest, Plains and South from last week, while the drought across the West was unchanged.
The monitor notes:
- D0 was expanded into western Iowa and adjacent areas where 60-day precipitation totals were under half of normal.
- A few areas in southeastern Texas and the Texas Panhandle worsened to D0 or D1 levels which were on the cusp of classifications last week.
- D0 was downgraded to D1 in south-central Louisiana where six-month precipitation totals were at least 9 inches below normal. In a larger surrounding area of central and southern Louisiana and adjacent Mississippi, D0 expanded into areas at least 4 inches below normal for the last 60 days and recording under 4 inches of precipitation since late December 2013.
In its forecast through January 27, it says between 0.25 and 0.75 inch of precipitation (with locally higher totals) is forecast in the dry areas of the Northeast, central Florida and southern and southeastern Texas. Light precipitation is anticipated in areas adjacent to these and in most of the Rockies. No measurable precipitation is expected elsewhere. The pattern of above-normal temperatures in the western U.S. and below-normal temperatures farther east is expected to continue.
The extended outlook for January 28 through February 1 says the odds favor above-normal precipitation in the central and northern Rockies and along the northern tier of states from the northern Rockies through the Great Lakes region. "Above-normal precipitation is also favored in the dry areas of Alaska. There are enhanced chances of below-normal precipitation in the southern Rockies and in central and southern sections of the rest of the contiguous 48 states from the Appalachians and Piedmont westward to the Pacific coast, except Florida and southern Texas," it states. "Neither drier- nor wetter-than-normal conditions are favored elsewhere. The pattern of above-normal temperatures in the West and below-normal temperatures farther east is expected to continue."