The West: Areas of Exceptional (D4) and Extreme (D3) Drought generally expanded in Colorado where rain showers were largely absent again this week. In Idaho, Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded and wildfires were on the rise. Other areas of the West remained status quo.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: Drought conditions remained unchanged in Alaska and Puerto Rico and Hawaii this week.
Looking Ahead: During the August 16 - 20, 2012 time period, there is an enhanced probability of precipitation from the extreme South, through the Southeast and mid-Atlantic and through New England. From the West through the Great Lakes, there is a suppressed chance of precipitation. Below normal temperatures are expected from the center of the country eastward. The West is expected to see above normal temperatures.
For the ensuing 5 days (August 21 - 25, 2012), the odds favor normal to below normal temperatures from just east of the Rockies to the east coast and also along the Pacific Coast. In a narrow band along the Rockies and in New England, the odds favor warmer than normal temperatures. Above normal precipitation is expected from New England, through the South and into the extreme Southern Plains. Normal to below normal precipitation is expected over the rest of the lower 48 states. In Alaska, temperatures are expected to be below normal in the south and above normal along the Arctic Ocean while precipitation is expected to be above normal in the south and below normal along the Arctic Ocean.
Author: Michael Brewer, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA
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)