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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.
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National Drought Summary for Oct 28, 2014
Over the last 7 days, much of the country has been dry, with the most significant precipitation occurring over the coastal regions of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. The first Nor’easter of the season made its way up along the east coast, bringing with it some significant precipitation to portions of New England. Other areas receiving lighter precipitation were in the northern Rocky Mountains and portions of the Midwest. Temperatures for the week were generally above normal for most of the country, with the greatest departures from normal over the plains states. On the plains, temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. The coolest temperatures were over the Gulf Coast in the southeast, where departures from normal were 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.
Temperatures were below normal over the interior of Alaska and above normal over the northern coastal region. It was mainly a dry week in Alaska, with most precipitation departures being 1.50 inches or less. No changes were made to the drought status in Alaska for this week. In Hawaii, most of the islands observed temperatures that were above normal by a degree or two. Precipitation was mixed on the island, with some areas well above normal while others were below normal. No changes were made for the Hawaiian drought depiction this week. No changes were made in Puerto Rico as well.
Temperatures again trended above normal through the Midwest, with departures from 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in northwest Missouri, western Iowa and western Minnesota to 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal over most of the rest of the region. It was generally a dry week over the area, with some portions of Iowa, southern Illinois, northern Wisconsin, and northern Michigan picking up near to slightly above normal precipitation. Some dryness is continuing to be monitored over Minnesota and D0 conditions were expanded this week in the northern portions of the state as well as the west central. No drought is designated in the Midwest at this time.
A week of above-normal temperatures coupled with dryness again brought concerns to the region that the long-term drought conditions will remain. Temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal over most of Oklahoma and north Texas while other areas were generally 6-9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal this week. Most of the region was dry, with weekly departures of up to 1.50 inches below normal over east Texas and Louisiana. Drought conditions generally changed little but some expansions were made in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. D0 was pushed into the bayou regions of southern Louisiana. In Texas, D4 was expanded in the northern part of the state, D0 was introduced in the Big Bend region, D2 was expanded in the central portion of the state, D1 was expanded in the south and D0 was expanded in the east. In Oklahoma, D4 was expanded in the southwest, while D3 and D2 were expanded in the central portions of the state.
A dry week over the region, as only portions of extreme south Florida received any precipitation. Temperatures were cooler than normal in Florida, south Georgia and the coastal regions of Alabama, South Carolina, and North Carolina, where departures from normal were generally 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the week. Areas farther to the north were at or slightly above normal, with temperature departures of up to 2 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Dry conditions over the last 30-90 days prompted the introduction of D0 in North Carolina and South Carolina. In southern Alabama, D0 was expanded to the east to include portions of the Florida panhandle and to the west to include more of eastern Mississippi.
A warm week over the High Plains brought with it temperatures that were 6-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, with the warmest conditions in Kansas and the Dakotas. Areas of eastern Nebraska, northeast Kansas, western Nebraska, north central Colorado, northwest Wyoming and southeastern South Dakota did see precipitation amounts up to 200% of normal for the week. It was observed that the dry and warm weather has started to impact the winter wheat in the region. In northeast South Dakota, D0 was expanded and a small area of moderate drought was introduced based upon the dryness over the last 2-3 months.
Even with the influence of the Nor’easter, temperatures were warm during the week, with departures generally 2-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Areas that were impacted by the onshore flow associated with the Nor’easter were also those areas that received the greatest precipitation. Areas from Massachusetts and eastern New York up to Maine recorded generally 2-5 inches of rain. Areas of Long Island and northern New Jersey recorded 1-3 inches of rain. The impact of this precipitation allowed for a categorical improvement of the drought status in the region. In Massachusetts, the D0 and D1 were improved, D1 was removed from New Jersey, and D0 was eliminated from most of Maine. Some areas of eastern New York again missed out on this precipitation event and D0 was expanded to the north this week.
As with the trend over most of this year, the temperatures in the western United States were above normal this week. Some areas of northern and central California as well as southern Oregon did see temperatures that were slightly below normal. Most areas were 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. A series of storms moved across the Pacific Northwest, bringing with them welcomed precipitation. Most of the precipitation was in and along the coastal regions of Washington, Oregon, and northern California, but some of this moisture did make it into Idaho and Montana. Even as some areas picked up several inches of precipitation and snows were falling in the upper elevations, the long-term issues continued over the west. Categorical improvements were made over southwest Oregon, where D0 and D1 conditions were improved. D0 was removed from the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington and D0 and D1 conditions were improved over western Washington. In southwest Montana, D0 and D1 conditions were improved based on the recent wet pattern, and some D0 was removed over the eastern panhandle of Idaho.
The outlook over the next 5-7 days shows a continuing chance of precipitation from the southern plains up into the Ohio River Valley, with amounts generally projected to be less than 2 inches. An active pattern along the coast of the Pacific Northwest ushers in more precipitation during the next 7 days. Some areas along the Washington coast could receive up to 5 inches of rain for the period. Dry conditions dominate the southwest into the northern Plains. Temperatures during this time are forecasted to be above normal for the central and northern plains as well as the northern Rocky Mountains. Cooler than normal temperatures are expected over the eastern half of the country as well as along the west coast into the Great Basin.
The 6-10 day outlook shows a trend of above-normal temperature chances continuing over most of the United States. The highest probabilities of above-normal temperatures will be over the northern tier of the country. The greatest probabilities of above-normal precipitation will be from the southern plains into the Midwest as well as the Pacific Northwest, which is a continuation of what is expected in the 5-7 day outlook. The probability of dry conditions is greatest over the central and northern plains, southwest, and into California.
Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center
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