Summary: Locally heavy rain provided drought relief to the south-central U.S., while dry conditions returned from central California into the Four Corners Region. Unfavorable dryness persisted in the Southeast.
Mid-Atlantic and Northeast: Light to moderate rain and snow (locally more than 1 inch liquid equivalent) from western Pennsylvania into central New England contrasted with increasingly dry conditions on the lower Delmarva. Locally heavy lake-effect snow showers eased D0 (Abnormal Dryness) downwind of Lake Ontario. However, precipitation has totaled locally less than 50 percent of normal over the past 90 days from northern New York into western and northern Maine, where the D0 designation was expanded. Meanwhile, unfavorable dryness continued to cause declining streamflows on the lower Delmarva Peninsula, where the updated 3-month Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) likewise supported the introduction of Moderate Drought (D1). In addition, a 60-day precipitation shortfall (50-70 percent of normal) along with streamflows in the lowest 30th percentile in southern Virginia resulted in a northward expansion of D0 in this locale.
Southeast: Dry, warmer-than-normal weather prevailed, resulting in an increase in drought designation from central and eastern portions of North Carolina into southern Georgia as well as southern Florida. Moderate (D1) to Extreme (D3) Drought was expanded northeastward over the Coastal Plain of North and South Carolina, with ongoing dryness (50 percent of normal or less over the past 90 days) causing a further decline in streamflows (gauges closest to the coast are in the lowest 10th percentile) and soil moisture. Abnormal Dryness (D0) was also introduced to central and northern North Carolina to reflect developing precipitation deficits (60-day rainfall averaging 50-75 percent of normal). In Georgia, the sharp contrast between northern drought-free areas and southern Exceptional Drought (D4) further intensified. In northern Georgia, additional showers – albeit light (amounts generally less than an inch)- kept soils favorable moist. Meanwhile, little if any rain fell across southern Georgia, where Exceptional Drought was expanded to correspond with the greatest 6-month rainfall departures (locally less than 50 percent of normal) and the lowest streamflows (5th percentile or lower). In Florida, light showers (0.25 to 0.5 inch) were reported across the panhandle. Dry weather prevailed across the remainder of the state, which led to declining streamflows, elevated fire danger, and increasing short-term precipitation deficits. Severe Drought (D2) was expanded southward across Gainesville to the northeastern Gulf Coast, with soil moisture and streamflows in the 10th percentile or lower. Farther south, Moderate Drought (D1) was expanded from Fort Meyers east to West Palm Beach, with the 3-month Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Soil Moisture percentile rankings supporting the increase. Much of central and northern Florida remains a strong candidate for additional drought expansion over the upcoming weeks if rain does not soon materialize.