Drought news

US Drought Monitor November 19, 2013
US Drought Monitor November 19, 2013

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

The Plains

The frontal system dropped half an inch of moisture across parts of the northern Plains this week, but the southern parts were dry. D0 expanded across central to eastern Kansas to reflect the meteorological dryness of the last 3 weeks (low humidity, high winds and limited precipitation) to 90 days (below-normal precipitation) and developing hydrological/agricultural impacts (stock ponds are losing ground and winter wheat is beginning to be negatively affected). In Oklahoma, D1 expanded in the northwest and D2-D4 in the southwest to reflect continued dryness and low soil moisture.

The West

According to November 19 SNOTEL station observations, snow water content in the Washington Cascades to northern and central Rockies was above normal, but this is the start of the wet season when normals are low. In spite of this week’s precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, water year-to-date (October 1 to present) precipitation remained below normal for much of the West, except for parts of northwestern Montana to Colorado where it was near to above normal. The Southwest (and California) has been especially dry since the summer monsoon ended. In California’s San Joaquin Valley, the city of Bakersfield has moved completely to ground water supplies due to the dry conditions and lack of surface water. Reservoirs are approaching 70% of average capacity. According to local National Weather Service experts, this level has historically been one of the measures of statewide drought, especially with precipitation being historically low for the calendar year. Some of those reservoirs should be near operational thresholds for low water. Consequently, D3 expanded into the San Joaquin Valley to reflect these impacts. In New Mexico, D0-D1 expanded in the south to reflect recent dryness, and D3 expanded in the northeast to reflect persistent dryness from the year to date. In Arizona, D0 and D1 expanded to reflect recent dryness, and the SL impacts boundary was shifted east to cover much of California and Arizona.

Looking Ahead

The NWS HPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for a frontal system to bring an inch or more of precipitation across much of the Southwest, and from the southern Plains (east Texas and southeast Oklahoma), across the Southeast, and to the Mid-Atlantic through November 27. Little to no precipitation is forecast for the Pacific Northwest to northern Plains. Temperatures will be below normal as the front moves across the country. The 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks project above-normal temperatures across much of the West and Alaska, and below-normal temperatures in the Southwest and most of the country east of the Rockies, as a circulation pattern sets up consisting of a warm ridge in the west and cold trough in the east. Drier-than-normal conditions are expected for much of the West to the Ohio Valley, west-central Alaska, and the western Aleutians, with wetter-than-normal conditions across the Gulf of Mexico coast, Atlantic seaboard, and the rest of Alaska.

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