#Drought news (April 1, 2021)

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

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

This Week’s Drought Summary

Multiple low pressure systems resulted in widespread precipitation (0.5 to 3 inches, or more) from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast during late March. Heavy to excessive rainfall (more than 5 inches) soaked southeast Louisiana and triggered flooding across Tennessee this past week. Along with the flooding, a severe weather outbreak affected Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky on March 25. Mostly dry weather persisted farther to the south, including the Florida Peninsula and south Texas. A cold front brought strong winds to the northern Plains on March 29 but little or no precipitation. Rain and high-elevation snow was limited to coastal Washington and the northern Cascades across the Pacific Northwest, while mostly dry weather prevailed throughout California. 7-day temperatures from March 23-29 averaged below (above) normal across the western (eastern) U.S…

High Plains

Another dry week along with strong winds on March 29 resulted in a slight expansion of extreme drought (D3) across North Dakota and northern South Dakota. This expanding D3 area was based mostly on SPI at EDDI at various time scales. Soil moisture remains below the 5th percentile for much of North Dakota. Based on snow water content running near average and 6 to 12 month SPIs, D3 was improved by one category across north-central Wyoming. Following multiple changes during the previous two weeks across Colorado, only minor improvements were needed this week. Localized improvements were made to small areas of southern Colorado, based in part on WYTD (since Oct 1, 2020) precipitation…


Widespread extreme (D3) to exceptional (D4) drought continues to be focused across the Southwest. According to the USDA (for the week ending March 28), nearly two-thirds of the winter wheat is rated as very poor in New Mexico. As of March 27, snow water content is running near 70 percent of average for the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Due to this snow water content along with WYTD (since Oct 1, 2020) precipitation deficits, long-term drought persists for nearly all of California. Since precipitation averaged below normal during March, the impact type was adjusted to include both long and short-term drought for California, along with parts of the Southwest. Based on SPIs at various time scales, D1 (moderate drought) was slightly expanded across north-central Montana while below average snow water content prompted an increase in abnormal dryness (D0) for northwest Montana. To the west across eastern Washington, below average precipitation during March and drying topsoil prompted an expansion of D0 and D1 (short-term moderate drought)…


On March 23 and 24, heavy rainfall (more than 5 inches) resulted in a 2-category improvement to southeast Louisiana where soil moisture is currently above the 70th percentile. However, much less rain fell across northern Louisiana where an expansion of D0 (abnormal dryness) and D1 (moderate drought) was made. The recent heavy rainfall also led to elimination of abnormal dryness (D0) across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Heavy rainfall triggered flooding across much of Tennessee during late March and the small areas of D0 were removed from the state. Additional improvements from the previous two weeks continued across the Texas Panhandle, while mostly dry weather and increasing precipitation deficits along with worsening soil moisture conditions resulted in expansion of D1 (short-term moderate drought) across parts of southeast Texas. Soil moisture rapidly declines from east to west across Texas…

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days (April 1 to 5), much drier weather is forecast for the eastern and central U.S. in the wake of a cold front. Mostly dry weather is also expected for the western U.S. with light precipitation limited to the Pacific Northwest and northern California. A brief period of below normal temperatures are forecast for the eastern U.S. and Gulf Coast States. A freeze may affect areas as far south as the Tennessee Valley and southern Appalachians from April 1 to 3. Meanwhile, a rapid warming trend is likely over the northern and central Great Plains with much above normal temperatures forecast during the first week of April.

The CPC 6-10 day extended range outlook (valid from April 6 to 10) favors above normal temperatures across the central and eastern U.S. with the largest probabilities centered over the central and southern Great Plains. Below normal temperatures are most likely along the West Coast and throughout Alaska. Probabilities of below normal precipitation are elevated from the Southeast westward to the southern Great Plains and southern Rockies. Near to above normal precipitation is favored for the Corn Belt, northern Great Plains, much of the western U.S., and Alaska.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending March 30, 2021.

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