The big story last week and this is Winter Storm Jonas as the resultant recovery continues across a good portion of the Atlantic Seaboard. Another round of good precipitation fell across the west coast as well, keeping the El Niño moisture train rolling from northern California up to Washington. Resultant improvements are noted along both coasts on this week’s map. Once again, conditions continue to worsen across most of Hawaii this week, noted by the expansion of both D0 and D1 on several islands…
Great Plains and South
Short-term dryness has led to some minor growth of D0 in west Texas (western Big Bend area) and in extreme southern Texas north of Brownsville in the McAllen area. The rest of the region remains unchanged this week with very little in the way of dryness or drought being shown over most of the country’s interior…
Slow and steady recovery continues for parts of the West this week after another beneficial round of precipitation brought with it liquid equivalent totals running from 5 to 8 inches or more in some spots in the northern Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. In eastern Washington and the Idaho Panhandle, D0-D1 has been reduced this week with improvement noted by an eastward push of the dryness and drought.
There are finally some signs that some modest dents in the armor of the multi-year drought in California are appearing. Now that Water-Year-to-date precipitation has eliminated most of California’s short-term (“S”) drought (now contained to just the west-central coast), continued recovery in soil moisture, long-term average streamflow, well above normal snow water content (150-180% of normal) and a trend up in reservoir levels has led to some slight improvement in the water supply situation and to the long-term (“L”) drought in northern California as well. There has been improvement and a push of D0-D3 eastward off the coast from San Francisco up to Eureka. In addition, an area in the northern Sierra Nevada range has moved from D4 to D3 given above-normal snowpack and snow water content on the Water Year.
In what must seem like a broken record (or perhaps a repeat track on Spotify if you fancy the digital realm) we must stress that this doesn’t mean the region is out of drought, as many of the larger reservoirs in northern California and southern Oregon are still below half of capacity. That is the reason for the long-term hydrological “L” label remaining well entrenched over the region at this time. Relative to last year, though, the trend is going in the right direction for now with a good chunk of the snow season still left to play out over the next two months. In fact, California’s Department of Water Resources just announced this week that state water project delivery allocations are being upped from 10 percent of requests to 15 percent for the calendar year. The full release can be found here: http://www.water.ca.gov/news/newsreleases/2016/012616allocation.pdf
After a mixed bag of changes last week, status quo is noted this week in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Oregon…
Over the next 5-7 days (valid through February 2), temperatures are expected to run well above normal (6-12 degrees or more) for virtually all locales east of the Rocky Mountains. Parts of the Pacific NW and Great Basin can expect slightly cooler-than-normal temperatures over the same period. As for precipitation, the recent favorable pattern remains as chances for good precipitation are expected across a good portion of the West, particularly the west coast along the coastal ranges, Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges. Central Florida is also looking likely to have good rains over this period. The country’s mid-section looks to be dry, all in all.
The 6-10 day outlooks (February 2-6, 2016) are calling for better chances of below-normal temperatures across the middle two-thirds of the country with above-normal readings likely along both coasts and in Alaska. Precipitation prospects look best in the Pacific NW, central Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes, Florida and the Northeast. Below-normal precipitation is more likely in southern California, the Desert Southwest, most of Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley and Delta. The interior of Alaska also looks to remain dry over this time frame while the southwestern and southern coasts will likely see above-normal precipitation.