Texas continued to see very un-La Nina like precipitation during the week, with most of it centered on the eastern half of the state. Short-term (S) drought impacts are falling by the wayside, but longer-term hydrological remnants are still there, most obvious in the western counties and up into the Panhandle. The big news is the reduction of D4 in central Texas this week along with reductions of D1-D3. Lesser amounts of the wet stuff fell across western TX, including the Panhandle, and we will continue to reassess the benefit of these rains in the short-term vs. the long-term duration and severity of the drought moving forward in these parts as more data comes in from the field. Oklahoma and the rest of the southern Plains stand pat this week after very little in the way of precipitation.
The Northern Plains: The only change on the map this week is centered on extreme eastern Montana and northwest North Dakota, where the warm winter continues along with the dryness over the past 90 days or so. As a result, D0 has expanded in both eastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota. The rest of the region remains the same after a relatively quiet week.
West: Cooler temperatures settled in last week and all but the coastal Pacific Northwest was dry as well, bucking the general abnormally warm trend of the past month. Changes this week, all in the form of deterioration, are depicted in Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California. Assessment of Water Year-to-date (WYTD) snow pack and water equivalent estimates within the pack shows some very low readings in the regions listed above. The saving grace for many of these basins was the bounty of last year, but in turning our attention to this year we are painting a different picture as the peak snow accumulation season comes down the final stretch. USDA-SNOTEL observations show snow water equivalent (SWE) ranking percentiles for many of the basins in the 6%-10% or even the driest 5% range based on the long-term record (over the past 20 years at least). This has led to the removal of D0 and replacement with D1 in the Mogollon region of central Arizona. It has also resulted in an expansion of D1 in the Upper Bear basin along the Wyoming/Utah state line, along with a slight D1 push into more of extreme northeastern Utah toward Wyoming and Colorado. Colorado, however, stands pat this week.
Farther west, northwestern Nevada and northeastern California both see an expansion of D2 for the same reasons explained above. WYTD precipitation has been slow in coming to date. The dryness also extends farther southward in California and into the lower elevations as well as to the coast in northern California. Both D0 and D1 have pushed west to the coast and south into the Los Angeles region continuing down to just north of San Diego. After a bumper year last winter, results of a new snow survey in the Sierras over the coming weeks will reveal a lot more about where we stand this winter.