According to the National Drought Monitor, 81.68% of the South is covered by drought, which is a slight improvement from 84.02% last week. But the drought improvement is not in the winter wheat Belt, as rains brought drought improvement to the Texas coastline.
"Across the northern Plains, generally 0.5 to 1.0 inch fell from portions of the Dakotas eastward across southern Minnesota and western Wisconsin, but any improvement seemed insufficient to make any changes to the Drought Monitor in those areas. Through the remainder of the Plains, little or no precipitation fell. As a result, 1-category deterioration was assessed in parts of Texas, eastern Kansas, and small parts of adjacent areas. The continuing dryness has negatively impacted the winter wheat crop," it states.
In its outlook for December 13 - 17, the monitor states that moderate to heavy precipitation (0.5 to locally 3.0 inches) is expected from the central Rockies and the Intermountain West westward to the Pacific Coast, from part of the central Plains northeastward through the Great Lakes region, from the central Gulf Coast states northeastward through the central and southern Appalachians, and along the East Coast from Virginia southward through South Carolina and central and northern Georgia. "Most locations across the eastern half of the country are forecast to receive at least 0.25 inch of precipitation, with little if any expected in the Florida Peninsula, northern Maine, and the High Plains. For the next 5 days (December 18 – 23, 2012), odds favor above-median precipitation once again from the central Rockies and part of the Intermountain West westward to the Pacific Coast," it predicts. "Wetter-than-normal weather also seems most likely across the mid-Atlantic, the northern half of the Appalachians, and the Northeast. In contrast, subnormal precipitation is favored across the Southeast, most of the Mississippi Valley and Plains states, and the northern Rockies."