#Drought news: Moderate and severe drought (D1 and D2) expanded over #Colorado’s E. plains, most of the W. U.S. received little to no rain

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor.

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

This Week’s Drought Summary

An active pattern of storms brought cold, wet weather to the Northeast, rain and locally severe thunderstorms to parts of the South, lower Midwest, and Southeast. Drought areas along the western Gulf Coast missed the heaviest rains, while those in the eastern half fared better. A ridge of high pressure over the West kept conditions warm and dry…

High Plains

Temperatures across the High Plains were generally warmer than normal last week with departures of 2 to 6 inches above normal. Much of the region received less than 0.5 inches of precipitation. Exceptions included parts of eastern North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, with totals of more than 1 inch, and eastern Kansas, with amounts of more than 2 inches – nearly 200% of normal. The warm, dry conditions led to an expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) in the Dakotas, southwest Nebraska, northwest Kansas, and eastern Colorado. Additionally, moderate and severe drought (D1 and D2) expanded over Colorado’s eastern plains. This area has failed to receive the timely spring rains needed, resulting in reductions in soil moisture, streamflow, and vegetation health. Across the entire High Plains region, local drought experts are discussing the emerging dryness and closely monitoring the situation as planting begins and the need for moisture increases…

West

Most of the western U.S. received little to no rain, except for small pockets of the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest. Temperatures were generally above normal, with record-setting heat across parts of the Southwest and daily highs of 10 to 20 degrees above normal. The heat and dry weather led to deteriorating conditions across several states. In Oregon, severe drought (D2) expanded near Portland and in the north-central part of the state in response to drying soils, vegetation stress, and streamflow and groundwater declines. Precipitation for the water year ranks as the third driest in the Portland station’s 89-year period of record. In northern California, moderate drought (D1) expanded. While the state coordination committee noted that reservoir levels are acceptable, precipitation deficits are less 50% of normal for the water year, streamflow values are low, and rangeland grasses have been affected by the lack of moisture and heat. Likewise, parts of central Nevada also saw expansions to D1 and the introduction of D2 in response to increasing moisture deficits, declining streamflow and groundwater levels, and vegetation stress. The only improvements on this week’s map included minor reductions in D1 in Oregon and D0 in Washington in response to locally heavy rainfall…

South

Locally heavy rain and thunderstorms fell across the eastern half of the southern region. The largest totals (4 inches or more) were recorded in Louisiana and Mississippi. Temperatures were near to below normal, with the largest departures (5 degrees below normal) recorded in Tennessee. For the most part, the rain either missed the drought areas near the coast or wasn’t enough to warrant improvements in conditions, instead preventing degradations. The western half of the region generally saw little or no rain again this week. Weekly average temperatures ranged from 2 to 8 degrees above normal, with locations in south Texas setting daily record highs with temperatures reaching triple digits. The warm, dry weather continued to deplete moisture supplies, stress vegetation, and deteriorate drought conditions across parts of the Texas Gulf Coast, with expansions to moderate (D1), severe (D2) and extreme (D3) drought. Texas also saw improvements as localized rain improved soil moisture, vegetation health, and streamflow…

Looking Ahead

The National Weather Service Weather Prediction Center forecast for the remainder of the week calls for continued wet conditions across much of the eastern U.S., with the highest values (more than 2 inches) expected over the Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures in the eastern half of the country are expected to be near to above normal, with departures of 1 to 8 degrees, over the weekend. For the western half of the country, areas expected to receive an inch or more of precipitation include parts of the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, and Central Plains. In the Southwest, dry weather with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal is expected to continue. Moving into next week, the Climate Prediction Center 6-10 day outlook (valid May 5-9) favors below-normal temperatures for the much of eastern half of the country. Above-normal temperatures are expected throughout the West, the southern Plains, along the Gulf Coast, and throughout Florida. The greatest probabilities for above-normal precipitation are expected from northern Texas to the Middle Mississippi Valley and along the Mid-Atlantic and New England coasts.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending April 28, 2020.

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