Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico
Wetter than normal conditions in Hawaii since the end of March and into early April brought drought relief to the eastern portions of the state. On the Big Island and Maui, D1 was eliminated and D0 was reduced. Molokai continues to have some long-term drought issues, which include irrigation restrictions on the Kualapuu Reservoir. These restrictions were eased a bit and the D3 conditions were improved to D2 this week because of the recent rains. This is the first time since May 2008 that both the Big Island and Maui are drought free. No changes were made in Alaska or Puerto Rico this week.
Another week of below-normal temperatures in the region has stalled the arrival of spring. Most areas were 4-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the week. The southern portions of the region did see the springtime clash of warm moist air from the south along with cold air from the north, resulting in some thunderstorms in central Missouri and eastward into southern Illinois and Indiana. Some areas of central Missouri and southern Indiana recorded more than 4 inches of rain with these events, which allowed for improvements in the drought depiction in the region. All of the recently introduced D0 was removed from southern Illinois while the D0 and D1 conditions in central Missouri and western Illinois were improved a full category where the greatest amounts of precipitation were recorded.
The same storm system that brought good rains to the southeast also caught portions of Arkansas, east Texas, and Louisiana. Outside of these areas, the remainder of the region was mostly dry. Although dry, temperatures remained at or below normal, with departures from normal of 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit through portions of west Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. Improvements were made to the D0 in northern Louisiana, removing all of the abnormal dryness this week. In southern Arkansas, D0 was also improved. The rains in east Texas allowed for the improvement of some of the D0 and D1 areas, pushing them to the west, while some D2 was also improved to D1. Similar improvements were made to the D0 and D1 areas in southeast Oklahoma. The Big Bend area of Texas did receive some precipitation, which allowed for improvements to the D1 there. The intensity of the drought conditions in the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma panhandle, and southwest Oklahoma worsened this week. D4 was expanded in both Texas and Oklahoma while D2 and D3 were pushed farther to the east in Oklahoma.
A well-developed storm system pushed slowly through the area at the end of the current U.S. Drought Monitor period, bringing with it significant rain over almost the entire region. The only areas remaining dry this week were from central to southern Florida, the coastal areas of North Carolina, and the Mid-Atlantic. Temperatures were above normal for the entire region, with the warmest temperatures (6-8 degrees Fahrenheit above normal) over the Carolinas. In response to the rain event, most of the areas of short-term dryness improved. This allowed for the removal of all D0 from Georgia, western North Carolina, northeast Alabama, southern Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Improvements to the D0 and D1 areas of northwest Alabama and northern Mississippi were also made.
A fairly dry week was experienced over much of the region. Portions of western Pennsylvania did record 1.0-1.5 inches of precipitation while portions of western New York recorded up to an inch. Temperatures remained cool, with departures throughout much of the region of 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit quite common. The colder than normal temperatures are also diminishing water demand, which is also eliminating any drought development at this time. There were no changes this week on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
As was observed in the Midwest, the plains states are experiencing a delayed spring with cooler than normal temperatures. This week was not any different, with departures from normal temperatures of 4-6 degrees Fahrenheit quite common. Precipitation was scarce in the region, with a few areas of eastern Kansas, northeast and central Nebraska, and western South Dakota recording amounts that were generally less than 1 inch total for the week. Even with the delayed spring, the departures from normal precipitation for the year are starting to reach 4 inches below normal from southern South Dakota into eastern Nebraska as well as eastern and central Kansas. Drought conditions were expanded in southeast Nebraska so that D1 now includes the entire region. In South Dakota, D0 was expanded into the southern portions of the state and including all of north central Nebraska as well. As the northern plains begin to thaw, there is ample moisture in the snowpack, which will help diminish any concerns for dryness, allowing for the D0 in North Dakota to be removed this week as well.
Most of the western United States was dry this week, with the heaviest precipitation recorded in areas west of the Cascades in Washington and Oregon. The warmer than normal conditions also continue for much of the region; this has been the trend for 2014 up to this point. In response to continued dryness and also approaching the end of the typical rainy season and snow accumulation seasons, some drought areas were expanded this week. In northern Arizona and southern Utah, D1 was pushed to the north while D1 was also pushed to the east in eastern Utah. In the Four Corners region, D2 was expanded into southwest Colorado and southeast Utah. In New Mexico, D2 was pushed to the east in the western portion of the state while D2 was expanded in the north central areas of the state. In response to the snowpack conditions, which are well above normal, the D0 and D1 conditions were improved upon in the eastern regions of northern Utah.
Over the next 5-7 days, an active weather pattern will take shape over portions of the plains, Midwest, and southeastern United States. Precipitation chances and amounts are greatest over the Midwest, the Ohio River Valley, and portions of the Gulf Coast. Areas of thunderstorms may produce 2-3 inches of rain locally. Precipitation chances are also high over the central to northern Rocky Mountains. Temperatures during this time should be above normal over the western United States, where high temperatures will be up to 12 degrees above normal in the Great Basin and northern California. Normal to slightly below normal high temperatures are expected in the plains and northern plains, respectively, while high temperatures will be above normal over the eastern United States.
The 6-10 day outlook continues with the cooler than normal temperature pattern over the eastern half of the United States, with the best chances for below-normal temperatures in the Great Lakes region. The chances for above-normal temperatures will also continue west of the Great Divide and also for southern Florida. The eastern seaboard and the Pacific Northwest are the two areas with the best chances of above-normal precipitation during this time. The Midwest and southwestern United States have the best chances of recording below-normal precipitation during this period.