Sunday, April 19, 2015

National Drought Summary for April 14, 2015

Summary

Most locations east of the Mississippi River saw precipitation this week. Rain along the Gulf Coast was particularly heavy as a storm dumped copious amount of rain on southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The Mobile Regional Airport set a daily record for April 12 with 7.28 inches of rain. Areas of the Midwest and Southern Plains also benefited from substantial rainfall this week.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico

Hawaii continues to benefit from much-needed rain. Precipitation on the Big Island led to improvements in Abnormal Dryness (D0) in the eastern part of the island. Likewise, in Alaska, improving snowpack conditions led to a decrease in Abnormal Dryness (D0) in the north and southeast part of the state. Conditions across Puerto Rico remained unchanged this week.

The Midwest

Significant amounts of rain fell from Iowa across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and into Michigan. The impacted areas saw improvement in Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) in the path of the storm. Other areas remained unchanged.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic

Receiving a break from the onslaught of cold, wet conditions that have dominated much of the winter and spring, this area of the country enjoyed near-normal temperatures and slightly drier conditions along the coast this week. Abnormal Dryness (D0) continues to impact much of the area but drought is not present and with the exception of a minor trimming of Abnormal Dryness (D0) in central Pennsylvania, no changes were made to the map depiction.

The Plains

The Southern Plains experienced another week with relatively wet conditions. There were minor improvements in all drought categories in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and southeast Kansas. The Northern Plains experienced a mixed bag of changes. In western North Dakota, precipitation improved Abnormal Dryness (D0) while in South Dakota Moderate Drought (D1) expanded northward.

The Southeast

Damp conditions across the Gulf Coast resulted in improvement in Severe (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) across the Panhandle of Florida and southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. This same system provided rain in and around the Atlanta area alleviating some of the Abnormal Dryness (D0) there. Conversely, southern Florida experienced a small increase in Moderate Drought (D1) conditions with dryness in the Miami-Dade area extending back three months or more.

The West

Most of the West saw little to no precipitation this week. Select areas of the Rockies were experiencing some snowfall as the week ended, the impacts of which will be assessed in the map next week. Likewise, the Pacific Northwest saw some coastal precipitation. However, it was largely limited to the areas that are not currently experiencing drought conditions. Little change was made to the drought depiction in the West with the exception of degradation in conditions in and around Wyoming, southern Montana, and northeast Utah. Severe (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded in that area. Little precipitation came to California again this week and no changes were made to the state depiction. At the end of the week, the statewide snow water equivalent stood at 5% of average and Extreme (D3) to Exceptional Drought (D4) again covered two-thirds of the state.

Looking Ahead

Normal to below-normal temperatures are expected in the central and eastern parts of the country in the coming days. Warmer than average temperatures should cover the West Coast. Above-normal precipitation is expected from the Southern Plains across the South and Southeast. Drier conditions are expected across much of the West.

The NWS 6-10 day outlooks call for normal to above-normal temperature over the U.S. west of the Rocky mountains and in the extreme Southeast. Precipitation is expected to be above-normal through the eastern third of the country, in the Southern Plains, and across Alaska. Below-normal precipitation can be expected from the Pacific Northwest through the Northern and Central Plains.

Author(s):
Michael Brewer, NOAA/NCDC


Dryness Categories

D0 ... Abnormally Dry ... used for areas showing dryness but not yet in drought, or for areas recovering from drought.

Drought Intensity Categories

D1 ... Moderate Drought

D2 ... Severe Drought

D3 ... Extreme Drought

D4 ... Exceptional Drought

Drought or Dryness Types

S ... Short-Term, typically <6 months (e.g. agricultural, grasslands)

L ... Long-Term, typically >6 months (e.g. hydrology, ecology)

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