Map released: Thurs. February 22, 2024
Data valid: February 20, 2024 at 7 a.m. EST

Intensity

  • None
  • D0 (Abnormally Dry)
  • D1 (Moderate Drought)
  • D2 (Severe Drought)
  • D3 (Extreme Drought)
  • D4 (Exceptional Drought)
  • No Data

Authors

United States and Puerto Rico Author(s):

Pacific Islands and Virgin Islands Author(s):

The Drought Monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may vary. See accompanying text summary for forecast statements.

Statistics

Statistics type ?
Week Date None D0-D4 D1-D4 D2-D4 D3-D4 D4 DSCI

Estimated Population in Drought Areas:

Pacific Drought Summary

This week was mostly drier and warmer than normal across Alaska. With SWE values mostly near to above normal, no change was made to the depiction, so Alaska continued free of drought and abnormal dryness. However, precipitation has been below normal for the water year to date (October 1, 2023-February 19, 2024) in southwest Alaska, including Cook Inlet and the Northwest Gulf area. And based on webcams, there is little to no significant snow in the mountains over the southern half of the Panhandle, and this region has had below-normal precipitation for the month of February. The snow drought situation in the southern Panhandle could have significant hydropower/water and environmental impacts by early summer if 1) there's no significant mountain snow in the next few weeks and 2) spring and early summer turn out comparatively dry and warm.

February has generally been dry across Hawaii, reflecting the drier-than-normal conditions usually associated with a strong El Nino event. Low rainfall and stream levels, in combination with impact reports from multiple sources, resulted in expansion of D0 on the Big Island and introduction of D0 on Kauai, Niihau, Oahu, Kahoolawe, and parts of Lanai and Maui.

El Niño-related short-term drought continued to gradually expand and intensify across portions of the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, with burgeoning impacts on vegetation health and fresh-water supplies. A notable exception was south of the Equator, in American Samoa, where heavy rain continued. During the first 20 days of February, 22.99 inches of rain fell at American Samoa’s Pago Pago International Airport.

Meanwhile, changes in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) for the drought-monitoring period ending February 20 included adding abnormal dryness (D0) for Nukuoro and Chuuk Lagoon, as well as deterioration from abnormally dry conditions to moderate drought (from D0 to D1) for Lukunor. Less than one-half inch of rain fell during the week at all FSM sites, except Kosrae (more than 5 inches) and Kapingamarangi (about an inch). In places such as Yap, Ulithi, and Pingelap, where drier-than-normal conditions began earlier, starting in November 2022, severe drought (D2) was solidly entrenched. Moderate drought (D1) was noted for Woleai and Pohnpei.

In the Mariana Islands, mid-February showers—with weekly rainfall totals near an inch—temporarily stabilized conditions, with moderate drought (D1) being reported again this week for Guam, Rota, and Saipan. Nevertheless, the Marianas are at risk of further drought deterioration, amid frequently dry, breezy conditions. Winds recently gusted to 40 mph at the international airports on Guam (on February 15) and Saipan (on February 14), and Guam had a Keetch-Byram Drought Index (KBDI) value of 663 on February 21, reflective of a very high fire danger.

Enough precipitation has been falling in the Republic of Palau to hold off on the introduction of abnormal dryness, although rainfall intensity has decreased in recent weeks.

Finally, no changes were introduced in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), despite a continuation of drier-than-normal weather. By February 20, the RMI depiction included severe drought (D2) for Wotje; moderate drought (D1) for Kwajalein; and abnormally dry conditions (D0) for Jaluit, Majuro, and Mili. Rainfall throughout the RMI totaled less than one-half inch at all observation sites until the end of the drought-monitoring period, when heavier showers arrived across some of the southern islands such as Jaluit, Ailinglapalap, and Majuro. For Majuro, reservoir storage has been somewhat resilient since the last heavy rain fell in early February, with 27.3 million gallons of fresh water available on February 15.

Full Summary

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