#Drought news: In #Colorado, unseasonable warmth (7-day average temperatures up to 18°F above normal), expansion of D2 (Severe) N. and Central

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

Summary

A late-winter cold snap over the eastern half of the nation contrasted with warmer-than-normal conditions from the Plains to the Pacific Coast, save for lingering chilly weather in the Northwest. The eastern cold spell was accompanied by mixed precipitation across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, resulting in widespread drought reductions. Much of the south experienced drier-than-normal weather, which coupled with recent dryness led to widespread expansion of drought. Drought conditions across the west remained unchanged, though renewed Pacific storminess was taking aim at the region at the end of the period…

Northern Plains

There were no changes to this area’s drought depiction, with light showers (less than 0.5 inch) offering no substantial relief to the Long-term Moderate Drought (D1)…

Central and Southern Plains

Drier- and warmer-than-normal weather persisted, maintaining or worsening the region’s drought. Across southern Nebraska and much of Kansas, 7-day average temperatures up to 7°F above normal coupled with increasingly dry conditions noted out to 60 days (locally less than 25 percent of normal, deficits of 1 to 3 inches) led to widespread expansion of Abnormal Dryness (D0). In eastern Kansas, 90-day precipitation less than 50 percent of normal (locally less than 30 percent) continued to deplete soil moisture, resulting in the expansion of Moderate Drought (D1). In Colorado, unseasonable warmth (7-day average temperatures up to 18°F above normal) and protracted dryness (6-month precipitation averaging 30 to 50 percent of normal) led to the expansion of Severe Drought (D2) in north-central portions of the state; rain will be [needed] soon everywhere east of the Rockies to prevent a rapid intensification of drought as winter wheat continues to break dormancy and soil moisture requirements increase. The same held true in Oklahoma, where weekly average temperatures up to 10°F above normal (locally higher in the Panhandle) and persistent dryness (6-month rainfall averaging 50 to 70 percent of normal) led to an increase in D2…

Texas

The short-term trend toward increasing dryness and drought continued, though some benefits from recent rain were noted in the south. In Deep South Texas and along the Gulf Coast, 2-week rainfall of 2 to 6 inches resulted in widespread reductions of Abnormal Dryness (D0). In contrast, unseasonable warmth (10-15°F above normal) and dryness (60-day rainfall 30 to 50 percent of normal) led to widespread expansion of D0 from Amarillo to Lubbock. Similarly, 60-day rainfall less than 30 percent of normal led to the introduction of Moderate Drought (D1) in north-central portions of the state. The northeastern corner of Texas has also seen some of the driest conditions over the past 60 days, with precipitation totaling less than 50 percent of normal (locally less than 20 percent); consequently, D1 was expanded to reflect the pronounced short-term dryness…

Western U.S.

Outside of New Mexico, conditions remained unchanged to region’s predominantly long-term drought. A pronounced dry signal over the past 60 days (10-35 percent of normal) led to an increase in Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1) across eastern New Mexico. Meanwhile, the Southwest’s lingering long-term drought areas are still exhibiting deficits beyond the 2-year window, with 3-year precipitation totals averaging 60 to 75 percent of normal. More rain will be needed to fully eradicate the lingering impacts and deficits of the region’s 5-year drought, particularly in southern California…

Looking Ahead

A dry start to the period featuring lingering late-winter chill over the east will give way to increasing chances for rain and mountain snow from the Pacific Coast States into the nation’s mid-section. A cold area of high pressure will slide off the East Coast, allowing a pair of slow-moving disturbances to track from the Pacific Coast into the middle Mississippi Valley. These systems will ultimately slow in response to building high pressure over the upper Midwest, resulting in potentially heavy rain (1 to 4 inches) from the central Gulf Coast into the middle Mississippi Valley, with a secondary swath of moderate to heavy rain (locally more than an inch) from the central High Plains into the Great Lakes and Northeast. Likewise, locally heavy rain and mountain snow will return to the west, though the precipitation will largely bypass the lingering long-term drought areas in the Southwest. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 28 – April 1 calls for near- to above-normal temperatures and precipitation over most of the nation, with cooler-than-normal conditions confined to northern New England and drier-than-normal weather limited to California and southern Florida.

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