Drought news

US Drought Monitor April 1, 2014
US Drought Monitor April 1, 2014

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


This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw an active weather pattern across much of the West coast and northern Rockies as a series of disturbances moved through the region delivering rain showers to the lower elevations and mountain snow showers to the higher elevations. Scattered snow showers were observed in higher elevations of the Intermountain West while the Southwest remained in a warm and dry pattern. Across portions of the South and Southeast, scattered rain showers were observed while locally heavy rain and snow showers fell across much of New England. In the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, the pattern of below-normal temperatures and snow showers persisted. Across the Southern Plains and western portions of Texas, dry and windy conditions continued to deplete soil moisture levels. On this week’s map, slight improvements were made in northern California and northeastern Oregon, while conditions deteriorated in southern Colorado. Moving eastward, conditions in the southern Plains, western Texas, and the lower Midwest deteriorated while New England saw improvements…

The Plains

As with most of the northern tier, the northern Plains experienced below-normal temperatures and areas of snowfall including blizzard-like conditions early this week in the Dakotas. According to the NWS in Bismarck, North Dakota, record daily maximum snowfall (8.1 inches) was observed in Bismarck on Monday. In the southern Plains, continued short-term precipitation deficits, declining range and pasture conditions, and areas of below-normal streamflow activity led to expansion of areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) in the eastern half of Kansas and central Oklahoma where areas of Severe Drought (D2) pushed eastward. Temperatures were generally near-normal to slightly above-normal in the southern portions of the Plains during the past week…

The West

During the past week, a series of disturbances pushed on-shore from the Pacific delivering much-needed rain and snow to northern California and Oregon. In northern California, liquid precipitation accumulations ranged from two-to-six inches in the northern coastal mountains while the northern Sierras received three-to-eleven inches. In the northern half of the Central Valley, precipitation accumulations were less than one and a half inch. Despite short-term gains, the long-term deficits across the region remained substantial. According to the California Department of Water Resources, California’s snowpack has increased since the first snow survey on January 3rd, but the latest survey results show California’s snow-water equivalent is only 32 percent of the average April 1st measurement when the snowpack is generally at its peak level prior to spring melt. In light of this week’s significant precipitation accumulations in the northern Sierra, a one-category improvement from Extreme Drought (D3) to Severe Drought (D2) was made to reflect short-term gains over the areas of greatest precipitation accumulations ranging from four-to-eleven inches. In northeastern Oregon, a one-category improvement from Moderate Drought (D1) to Abnormally Dry (D0) was made to reflect near-normal snowpack conditions in the Blue and Wallowa Mountains. In the Southwest, a warm and dry pattern continued across the region leading to slight deterioration of conditions in southwestern Colorado…

Looking Ahead

The NWS HPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for moderate-to-heavy precipitation accumulations (two-to-six inches) across the lower Midwest and moderate accumulations (two-to-three) in the South and Southeast. The Upper Midwest, New England, central Rockies, and Pacific Northwest are forecasted to receive accumulations of less than two inches. The 6-10 day outlooks call for a high probability of above-normal temperatures across the West while below-normal temperatures are forecasted across the South, Midwest, and Eastern tier. A high probability of above-normal precipitation is forecasted across portions of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, New England, northern Plains, and Pacific Northwest while the remainder of the West, southern Plains, and western portions of the South are expected to have below-normal precipitation.

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