According to the National Drought Monitor, 73.79% of the contiguous U.S. is covered in drought, which is a marginal improvement from 73.88% last week. Over the past week, improvement was seen in the eastern U.S., and parts of the Central Plains and Midwest benefited from light precip in the states of Nebraska and Iowa into South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, though precip was generally less than an inch so this resulted in no change to the region's drought profile.
In the South, the monitor reports, " Dry conditions prevailed over much of the region this week, with only east Texas and Louisiana recording significant precipitation amounts. Improvements to the drought depiction were made in east Texas and Louisiana, with D1 and D2 areas being reduced. Degradation to the drought status in Oklahoma and Texas was made, with D3 expanding in central Oklahoma and along the border with Texas. In central Texas, a new area of D4 was introduced and D3 expanded, D0 was expanded in west Texas, and D3 was expanded in north central Texas."
In its outlook for Dec. 19-23, the monitor states the weather pattern should stay active, with multiple storm systems impacting the country. "A vigorous system will be moving out of the Plains and into the Midwest and Great Lakes region and finally into New England over the next five days. Precipitation amounts are expected to be in the 0.50 to 2.40 inch range, with the greatest amounts expected over New England," the Monitor reports. A second system will be coming into the Pacific Northwest with projected precipitation amounts of up to 9.00 inches in southern Oregon and northern California along the coast, according to the monitor. "Temperatures during this time look to be above normal over much of the eastern half of the country and below normal along the west coast. Extremes will range from 9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in Oklahoma and Arkansas to 6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in southern Oregon," the monitor elaborates.