Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Current U.S. Drought Monitor

NOTE: To view regional drought conditions, click on map above. State maps can be accessed from regional maps

The data cutoff for Drought Monitor maps is Tuesday at 7 a.m. Eastern Time. The maps, which are based on analysis of the data, are released each Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time.

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The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

For local details and impacts, please contact your State Climatologist or Regional Climate Center

National Drought Summary for Apr 15, 2014

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico

Continued rains on the Big Island of Hawaii allowed for continued improvements to the D0 conditions there. Only Molokai has any lingering drought issues, and that is in response to continued water restrictions. No changes were made in Alaska or Puerto Rico this week.

Midwest

A significant rain and snow event in the Midwest brought 2-4 inches of precipitation from Iowa into Wisconsin and Michigan. A full category improvement to the drought depiction was made from eastern Iowa into Wisconsin. For northwest Iowa, the dry pattern continued and D1 conditions were pushed farther to the west. Most of the region was above normal for the week, even with the wild swing in temperatures. The upper Midwest was 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the week.

South

Warm temperatures and dry conditions were experienced over much of the south this week. Areas of central Arkansas did record up to 3 inches of rain this week and an inch of rain was recorded over portions of northeast Texas. Even as the week averaged out above normal, cold air at the end of the current U.S. Drought Monitor period pushed into the region with overnight lows well below freezing and snow in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. The dryness in the Texas panhandle allowed for D4 expansion this week. In central Texas, D2 was also expanded while an area of D3 was improved slightly. Dryness in southern Texas also warranted the expansion and intensification of drought, with D1 and D2 expanding. Another round of precipitation in the Big Bend of Texas allowed for D0 to improve while the extreme areas of northeast Texas also had D0 improve. Southern Oklahoma also had degradation of drought conditions, with D1 and D2 conditions expanding.

Southeast

Another round of showers and thunderstorms in the region brought heavy rain to portions of Alabama and Mississippi, with up to 4 inches recorded in central Mississippi. Some areas of north Georgia into Tennessee and western North Carolina have been dry on several time scales and will need to be monitored for deterioration. In an area of northern Mississippi and southern Tennessee, which the heavy rains recently missed, D0 was expanded this week.

The Northeast

A rare warmer-than-normal week brought temperatures that were 4-8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the region. Scattered showers in the region generally brought precipitation amounts of less than 1 inch. Even with the above-normal temperatures, there were not any changes to the drought status of the region this week because water demand is still lagging as vegetation is slow to come out of dormancy.

The Plains

As with the Midwest and south, the temperatures this week were quite variable as very warm temperatures were followed by very cold temperatures at the end of the week. Most of the region was 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week outside of the northern High Plains. Portions of Nebraska and eastern Kansas saw a mix of thunderstorms, rain, and wet snow, but this was not enough to show improvements. The drought intensity increased to D3 over central Kansas while D2 was expanded into more of eastern Kansas.

The West

Another dry week over much of the western United States. Areas of the Pacific Northwest did record up to an inch of precipitation while the central Rocky Mountains continued receiving precipitation as rain and snow was recorded in Wyoming and Colorado. The warm temperatures continued over the west with almost all areas above normal for the week, and in California, temperatures were 9-12 degrees above normal. This was detrimental to the low snowpack as some areas of California lost half of the snow water equivalence (SWE) in a single week and there was little response to inflows into reservoirs. Drought conditions worsened as D2 was expanded in eastern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. In southwestern Colorado, D1 was also expanded. A reanalysis of conditions was done in southwest Wyoming and northeast Oregon this week, which allowed for the improvement to D0 conditions there.

Looking Ahead

Over the next 5-7 days, there is a good chance of precipitation from the plains to the upper Midwest, with more than an inch anticipated from northern Wisconsin into eastern Nebraska and south into Oklahoma and Arkansas. A storm system will move into the Pacific Northwest, potentially bringing up to 4 inches of rain into portions of Washington. In the southeast from Florida up the Carolinas coast, there is a good opportunity for heavy rain as well. A warming pattern looks to bring above-normal temperatures over much of the United States from the Great Basin into the northeast, and high temperatures will be up to 10-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the central plains.

The 6-10 day outlook continues to show higher-than-normal chances for above-normal precipitation over most of the southern plains, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest. The best chances for above-normal temperatures are in the middle and eastern sections of the United States, from the Rocky Mountains and to the east. Chances for cooler-than-normal temperatures are greatest along the west coast.


Author(s):
Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center

View a printable narrative here.

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