Drought Monitor: Dry areas in Texas receive significant rainfall

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After the cut-off period for data to be analyzed for this week’s United States Drought Monitor product, many areas in Texas and along the Gulf Coast recorded significant rainfall over drought impacted regions.  None of the precipitation that was observed after Tuesday morning was considered for this week’s map, and it will need to be assessed in next week’s product.  As a reminder, the period analyzed each week is from Tuesday to Tuesday, with the product being released on Thursday.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: It was a mainly dry week over much of the northeast, with much of Pennsylvania and New England drier than normal.  Decent rains in northern Virginia, Maryland and the panhandle of West Virginia helped to ease the dryness that has impacted much of the region over the last 30 days.  No changes in drought status were made in either region this week.  

Southeast:  A mix of dry conditions and scattered showers over the last seven days did not provide enough moisture to hold off the intensification of the drought. D4 was expanded in southern Georgia, southeast Alabama and the Florida panhandle.  D4 was expanded in east Florida along the coast.  D2 and D3 were expanded in northern Florida as well as in southwest Florida.  A categorical push of the drought intensities to the north in Georgia also took place while D1 and D2 were expanded in eastern North Carolina.  D0 was improved in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

In Mississippi and Louisiana, a categorical degradation took place, adding D4 along the coast and pushing the D2 and D3 categories to the north.  D2 was also expanded in northeast Louisiana and D3 was introduced into northern Louisiana.

The Plains:  The northern plains remained wet and cool while the southern plains remained hot and dry.  The wet spring and abundant snowpack have led to flooding concerns all along the Missouri River.  Water restrictions are in place for many communities in Texas, with low to moderate water pressures impacting communities.  In Texas this week, D2 was intensified to D3 and D4 was expanded in south Texas.  East Texas had an expansion of D3 conditions while D4 was expanded to include almost the entire panhandle.    Some improvements were made in and around the Dallas metro area, as up to 3.50 inches of rain were recorded at the end of the U.S. Drought Monitor period.  This allowed for the drought-free area to expand and also for a categorical improvement where the most rain was recorded in Dallas, Tarrant, Rockwall, Collin, Denton, Wise, and Jack counties.  Most of Oklahoma had a categorical degradation this week as well, as the hot and dry conditions continued and potential evapotranspiration values were almost double normal values.

Improvements were made in western Kansas where D0/D1/D2 conditions were all improved in response to rain events taking place at the end of the U.S. Drought Monitor period.  More than 3.00 inches of rain was recorded in Gove, Wallace and Hamilton counties.

Midwest:  It was another wet week over much of the region, with widely scattered thunderstorms and even severe weather.  Moderate drought was introduced in northeast Minnesota this week as this region continues to miss out on precipitation, and hydrological concerns still exist.  With the new area of D1, this area has recorded less than 25 percent of normal precipitation since April 1.

The West: Dry conditions prevailed over much of the southwest this week, with wet conditions over the Rocky Mountains and northern Utah.  Improvements were made to the drought status in southeast Colorado after several days of precipitation.  Improvements to D1/D2/D3 along the Colorado and Kansas borders were made while some D0 was improved in northern Colorado.  In southwest Colorado, continued dryness has allowed for D0 to be pushed north out of New Mexico and into Colorado.

Dryness in New Mexico continued, with D3 expanded in northeast New Mexico and D4 pushed farther south along the border with Texas.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: No changes were made to Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico this week.

Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (June 22-26), a ridge develops over the southwest while the ridge over the east weakens.  Temperatures are expected to be 6-9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the southwest and 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in the southeast.  Cooler than normal temperatures over the upper Midwest, New England, and the west coast should prevail with temperatures generally 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal. Precipitation chances are greatest over the Missouri River basin and into the northeast, where 2 inches or more could be possible.  Continued rains along the Gulf Coast and into Florida could help to ease drought tensions in those areas.

The CPC 6-10 day forecast (June 27-July 1) shows most of the United States having a good chance at above normal temperatures with the best chances over the Midwest and into New England.  Cooler than normal temperatures are expected from Alaska south along the coast to California during this time.  Dry conditions are projected to take place over the Great Lakes region and into New England while the southwest will also remain dry.  The best chances for above normal precipitation are in the southeast, Pacific northwest and Alaska.

Author: Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center

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
A ... Agricultural
H ... Hydrological

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