#Drought news: No significant precipitation fell across much of the High Plains, Rockies, and Intermountain West this past week

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


Two low-pressure systems brought significant rains to portions of the contiguous U.S. from the Southern Great Plains to the mid-Atlantic. Elsewhere, most of the rest of the reporting stations around the country reported little to no precipitation, continuing the dry conditions across much of the western states. Moderate rains have brought much needed drought relief to Hawaii, which much of central Alaska remained without precipitation. The eastern portions of Puerto Rico continued to receive light rains, while western portions of the island remain dry…


A few stations in New Mexico reported light precipitation (0.01 to 0.15 inch), but most of the Southwest remained dry this week. Westwide SNOTEL reports of SWE much below average across southwest New Mexico and eastern Arizona prompted the expansion of severe drought (D2) across Navajo and Apache Counties in Arizona and Catron County in New Mexico…

The High Plains, Rockies, and Intermountain West

No significant precipitation fell across much of this region during this past week, through the data cutoff time on Tuesday morning. The past week was slightly cooler than average for the Upper Colorado River Basin, and fairly seasonal in terms of precipitation. Another large slug or two of moisture like what was realized at the end of February will be necessary in order for basin-wide snowpack numbers to achieve median status by peak season. East of the divide conditions were much cooler than average and mostly dry with less than a tenth of an inch of precipitation across most of the region. On short timescales eastern Colorado is not at a deficit precipitation-wise with the exception of the northeast corner of the state, which is still holding onto average soil moisture conditions. With the cold temperatures keeping things dormant, lack of substantial winds, and recent snowfall events the recent dryness east of the divide this week should be relatively inconsequential. No changes were made to the drought depiction as precipitation was not far off of normal.

The lack of winter storms across the Great Basin prompted the intensification of drought conditions across eastern Nevada and western Utah. SPI values out through 9 months indicate conditions at least as intense as D1, with shorter time period SPI values indicating even more intense conditions…

The Pacific Northwest and California

The winter continues to be dry for much of this region as no significant rains fell this past week. Abnormally dry conditions expanded across northwest Oregon to near Tillamook. The rest of the area remained unchanged, but will be monitored closely in the coming weeks…

Looking Ahead

Through March 17, two low-pressure systems are forecast to impact the contiguous 48 states during the next 5 days. One is forecast to move across the northern tier while another is forecast to bring significant rains (more than 3.0 inches) to the Gulf Coast and Lower Mississippi Valley. These two systems are forecast to phase over the northeast, with precipitation spreading from west to east across that region. Some flow into the front range of the Rockies, with upper-level support is likely to bring some spring snows to southwest Colorado.

For the ensuing 5 days (Mar 17 -21), below median precipitation is favored along the west coast, and from the Great Lakes to the Southeast, while an upper-level trough supports above median precipitation over the Southwest, most of the Rockies, and portions of the southern and central Great Plains. Western and Southern Alaska are expected to experience an active weather pattern with above median precipitation.

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