Update: Parched Plains Get Needed Moisture
Summary: A continuing pattern of above normal precipitation for the Southeast helped to introduce widespread improvements for this week. A series of winter storms impacted conditions on the Plains, where areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri were recipients of moisture from multiple storms.
The Northeast: A fairly dry week did not allow for any improvements in the region, but no degradation was warranted either. More than an inch of precipitation was recorded along the coast from Massachusetts to Maine.
Mid-Atlantic: A dry week as most of the significant precipitation was south of the region. No changes were made this week.
Southeast: Significant rains over the last week and generally over the last month allowed for widespread improvements in Georgia, northern Florida, Alabama and the Carolinas. Generally, a full category improvement was made, while in areas of northern Florida and southern Georgia, conditions improved by two categories. The region is free of an extreme drought (or worse) for the first time since August 2010.
South: The precipitation events that impacted the southeast also brought several inches of precipitation along the Gulf Coast. Most areas of D0 were improved this week as the region responded to the ample precipitation.
Midwest: Snow and rain were common in the region from Missouri into Illinois. Up to 3 inches of water was sampled out of the snows in Missouri. Some improvements were started in Missouri, and in the western part of the state, the full impact of the moisture can be assessed as the snow begins to melt and the response is observed.
The Plains: Up to a foot of snow fell in portions of Nebraska this week and even more to the south in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The precipitation amounts in Nebraska were generally less than 0.50 inches, and no improvements were made. In Kansas, D4 conditions were eased in the north central and south central portions of the state while D3 was eased in the northeast. In Oklahoma, much of the state saw a full category improvement as the combination of rain and snow from several events improved conditions. The improvements continued in the panhandle of Texas, where generally a full category improvement was observed. In Texas, drought areas were assessed in the southern and central portions of the state, leading to a mixed bag of improvements and degradation. In west Texas, the D0 and D1 lines shifted to the west.
The West: Even with some snows in portions of eastern New Mexico, some new areas of D4 were introduced this week. The long-term issues in the state are causing concern, with a lack of water in reservoirs as well as depleted soil moisture being the main impacts. In California, the last two months have been very dry and allowed for all of northern California to be in D0 this week. In central California, D2 was shifted to the north as groundwater concerns have become more widespread.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: In Hawaii, a fairly wet week was observed, but much of the precipitation did not fall on drought areas. Some improvements were made on Maui this week, shifting the D0 and D1 lines to the south. No changes in Alaska or Puerto Rico this week.
Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (Feb. 27-March 3) precipitation chances are limited to the Pacific Northwest and also from the Great Lakes up into New England. Amounts are generally in the 0.50 to 1.0 inch range in the Great Lakes to New England and up to 1.5 inches along the coast in Washington. Temperatures during this time look to remain well below normal for the eastern half of the country. Departures of 12 to 15 degrees below normal can be expected over the south with some above normal temperatures over the west coast.
The CPC 6-10 day forecast (March 5-9) shows the greatest chances for below normal temperatures over the area from Nebraska to Texas, east to the coast. Warmer than normal temperatures are anticipated over Alaska and also in the southwest. Precipitation chances are best over the northern plains and Tennessee River Valley while below normal chances of precipitation are projected in the southwest and along the East Coast.