This week's National Drought Monitor reflects "very un-La Nina-like precipitation" during the week in Texas, with most of it centered on the eastern half of the state, while drought expanded in the Northern Plains.
"Short-term drought impacts are falling by the wayside, but longer-term hydrological remnants are still there, most obvious in the western counties and up into the (Texas) Panhandle. The big news is the reduction of D4 in central Texas this week along with reductions of D1-D3. Lesser amounts of the wet stuff fell across western Texas, including the Panhandle, and we will continue to reassess the benefit of these rains in the short-term versus the long-term duration and severity of the drought moving forward in these parts as more data comes in from the field. Oklahoma and the rest of the southern Plains stand pat this week after very little in the way of precipitation."
Meanwhile in the Northern Plains, the monitor notes, "The only change on the map this week is centered on extreme eastern Montana and northwest North Dakota, where the warm winter continues along with the dryness over the past 90 days or so. As a result, D0 has expanded in both eastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota. The rest of the region remains the same after a relatively quiet week."
In its outlook for February 23 to 27, the monitor says the best bets for precipitation are centered on the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Atlantic Seaboard and up into New England. "Only modest totals are forecast for the drought regions across the Southeast, but anything will help at this point with the spring growing season just around the corner. The wetness in the eastern U.S. will be accompanied by warmer-than-normal temperatures as well. Most locations west of the Missouri River can expect to see below-normal temperatures over this period with the exception being the Four Corners region and California, where near-normal readings are expected," it says.
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) 6-10 day (February 28-March 3, 2012) outlook shows increased odds of precipitation across the Pacific Northwest, the eastern Great Plains, the Midwest and the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River valleys. "Below-normal precipitation is anticipated in southern California, the Southwest and the coastal regions of the Carolinas as well as all of Florida except for the Panhandle," it says. "Temperatures look to be below normal across all of Alaska and everywhere west of the Rockies. Above-normal temperatures are likely to occur east of the Mississippi Valley and up into New England with the Southeast and Florida showing the strongest chances for unseasonably warm weather as we welcome March in the door."