Light precipitation at best covered most of the 48 states, so drought deterioration was more common than improvement this past week. Less than half an inch fell on most areas across the Southeast, Great Lakes Region, central and northern Plains, Mississippi Valley, Texas, and from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast. Widespread light to moderate precipitation covered the Northeast and the central Appalachians, and a fairly broad area centered along the Ohio Valley received from a few tenths to one-half inch.
A week of near normal precipitation kept moisture deficits at bay. For the past few months, surplus precipitation has prevailed, and no areas of dryness or drought were identified.
Despite the dry week, most of the Southeast maintained the precipitation surpluses observed on time scales ranging from 30 days to a couple years, especially across the interior. Closer to the coast, conditions are markedly different. Drought is limited in coverage, but entrenched and severe in many areas where it exists. Conditions were effectively unchanged across the Florida Peninsula. Most areas there are nominally dry, but drought has enveloped central and eastern parts of the upper Peninsula, and much of the lower Peninsula. An area of severe D2 drought has settled near the southwestern coast, where the last 90 days brought only 10 to 25 percent of normal rainfall.
Similar to conditions in the Southeast, surplus rainfall has prevailed across the interior, but dryness and drought are entrenched along most of the Gulf Coast, and across southern Texas. Less extreme dryness covers part of central Texas, western Oklahoma and adjacent Texas, and the lower Big Bend. D0 prevails across these regions, with only scattered patches of moderate drought. In contrast, extreme D3 drought has developed in a few regions across southern Texas, primarily near the Gulf of Mexico and along the Rio Grande, while severe drought is impacting a large part of southeastern Texas and smaller areas near the Mexican Border.
This regions remains free of drought, with persistently above-normal precipitation prevailing for over a year in some areas. Still, a few small areas of abnormal dryness have developed. One in east-central Michigan grew slightly this past week, and a small area of D0 pushed into west-central Wisconsin from the broader-scale dryness farther west.
Drought is intensifying quickly across the southern tier of this region from southern Colorado through western Kansas. Severe D2 drought is now extant throughout this area, and extreme D3 drought envelops much of southern Colorado and adjacent southwestern Kansas. Most of this region has recorded less than an inch of precipitation during the past 3 months, and at best a few tenths of an inch have fallen mid-March. Abnormally warm weather is exacerbating the acute dryness. The past 3 months have averaged 2 to 4 degrees F above normal, and since late April, averages have been 7 to 9 degrees F above normal.
Central Montana was another of the few areas that improved this week, with 1.5 to 3.0 inches of precipitation bringing relief from recent dryness. Other parts of the state missed the beneficial moisture, and precipitation totals among the lowest 5 to 20 percent on record since early February in southwest Montana, prompting D0 expansion into the region. Farther south and west, dryness and warmth led to deterioration in much of Nevada, Oregon, small parts of Washington, and the western Idaho Panhandle.
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