Drought: Great Plains Remain Problematic
Summary: Over the last seven days, the most active area for precipitation was in the southeast United States where areas of southern Georgia and South Carolina recorded over 2 inches of rain, with locally heavier amounts of close to 3 1/2 inches in Georgia. A winter storm over the southern Plains brought wet snow to much of the panhandle of Texas and into portions of Oklahoma. Areas of southern Florida received up to 2 inches of rain.
The Northeast: Mostly light precipitation over the region during the last seven days. Some lake effect snows in portions of New York were also observed. No changes were made to the lingering D0 regions in New England.
Mid-Atlantic: The northern fringes of the rains that impacted the southeast did make their way into the Mid-Atlantic states. Generally, precipitation was less than 0.50 inch for the week throughout the region, with no changes being made this week.
Southeast: A continued pattern of above normal precipitation continued in a large area from Louisiana into South Carolina this last week. The drought areas of central and southern Georgia and South Carolina improved by a full intensity level this week. The area south of here did not receive the beneficial rains and remained dry from southern Georgia into northern Florida. Because of the continued dryness, D3 and D2 conditions were pushed farther south into northern Florida and D1 was pushed into more of central Florida. In south Florida, much of the area of D1 was improved with decent rains being recorded over the last few weeks.
South: Areas of east Texas remained in a favorable weather pattern as widespread precipitation led to further improvements in the area. The D1 and D0 areas were pushed farther to the west this week. Improvements were also made in the Texas panhandle where a wet snow event helped to ease drought conditions somewhat with a category improvement to the areas of the greatest precipitation, with a tight gradient from D1 to D4 conditions still existing. Indicators showed dryness continuing in south Texas, where D2 and D3 conditions were expanded. In Oklahoma, some degradation was introduced into the far reaches of the panhandle this week after another long stretch without any significant precipitation in the region, and the lack of soil moisture is still problematic.
Midwest: The areas that did record precipitation this week generally had amounts less than 1 inch, with most areas receiving less than 0.50 inches. In and around the St. Louis area, some adjustments were made in both Illinois and Missouri based on field reports and current conditions. Even with precipitation, there has been a very slow response to pond and lake levels, and soil moisture at the deepest depths is still quite dry. In eastern Missouri, some D2 was improved to D1 while D1 was expanded to the east slightly. In Illinois, the D0 along the Mississippi River was expanded to the east and south.
The Plains: A continuing dry pattern that has enveloped the region most of the winter continued. No changes were made this week as the little precipitation did not allow for any improvements and the time of year did not dictate any degradation.
The West: Some precipitation in central Arizona did allow for a small area of improvement this week as the current area of D0 was expanded in the central portion of the state. The start of the calendar year has been very dry for much of California, especially the northern portions of the state. The good start to the water year with early precipitation has been followed by a dry pattern over the last few months. As impacts to the dryness start to develop, a new area of D0 was introduced this week along the coast and to inland locations. The new area of D0 was labeled short-term because of the nature of the dryness.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: No changes were made to Alaska, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico this week.
Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (Feb. 20-24) the forecast for this period is to remain active with a series of storm systems moving out of the Southwest and onto the Plains and Midwest. The precipitation associated with the period is from around 1 inch in Colorado and Nebraska to 1.50 inches in portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.
The Southeast will remain wet, with projected totals of 2 to 5 inches over Louisiana and into the Carolinas. Temperatures during this time will be below normal over much of the United States outside of south Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Temperatures will range from 18 degrees Fahrenheit below normal in the central Plains to 6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in Florida and south Texas.
The CPC 6-10 day forecast (Feb. 26-March 2) anticipates a continuing cooler than normal pattern over much of the southern United States, with the greatest chance of below normal temperatures over the lower Mississippi River valley. The area with the best chance for above normal temperatures is in New England and the Great Lakes region. Precipitation chances are below normal over much of the Rocky Mountain and southwest regions while the east coast and southeast have above normal chances for above normal precipitation.