The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Precipitation continued to bypass most of the region during the past week. Over the last 90-days, 25 to 50 percent of normal precipitation (PNP) has fallen from northern Virginia northward into coastal Maine, with deficits generally between 4 and 8 inches, with 8-12 inch deficits in southern New England and Long Island. The early green-up of trees and vegetation was slowed by the cooler air of recent weeks, but yet many plants have begun to grow, extracting moisture from the soil. According to the USGS, stream flow levels were at near- or record lows for April 17 at 1-, 7-, 14-, and 28-day averages in much of New England and the mid-Atlantic. Most reservoirs, however, were near or at capacity due to the early-season snow melt and thaw, and to wetter conditions in the past (9-12 months ago). Based on considerations above, the AHPS 30-day precipitation deficit map, and local expertise, abnormal dryness (D0) was expanded westward across west-central Pennsylvania, as far as Elk and Jefferson Counties.
The Southeast: Very little precipitation was reported over the Southeast during the past week. AHPS 30-day precipitation deficits of 3 to (as much as) 5 inches are indicated over much of Georgia, Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, and southern Tennessee. One-category degradations were made in much of South Carolina, portions of eastern and southwestern Georgia, and both east-central and far southern Florida. Rainfall deficits of 8-12 inches over the past 180-days are prevalent across Florida, along with Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI) values in excess of 550-600 (700 in west-central parts of Florida). Abnormal dryness (D0) was expanded across both northern and northeastern Alabama. An exception to the widespread dryness was an area of moderate to heavy showers and storms (1.5-2.0 inches) along the southeast coast of Florida during the period.
Midwest: Substantial rains (generally 0.5 to 2 inches, locally up to 3 inches) fell across a large portion of the drought area across the upper Midwest/upper Mississippi Valley region during the past week. One-category improvements were made across northern Minnesota (D1 conditions giving way to D0). Minor changes in the direction of improvement were also made in western and southeastern Iowa. A severe weather outbreak last weekend was accompanied by strong, damaging straight-line winds, severe hail, and tornadoes, primarily concentrated across southern Iowa. Temperatures across the region during the past 7-days averaged 2 to 6 degrees above-normal, with the warmest anomalies over Wisconsin. According to the USDA, percent topsoil moisture rated short-very short compared to the 5-year mean was: Illinois (27 current / 7 for 5-yr mean), Minnesota (48/11), and Iowa (27/6). Slight improvements were made to the drought depiction in western Illinois due to recent rains, but abnormal dryness (D0) was expanded northward into northern Illinois amid rainfall deficits over the past 90 days (AHPS) of 1-4 inches and local reports of dusty fields. One-category downgrades have also been made in western and central sections of Kentucky.