This U.S. Drought Monitor week was dominated by a series of storm that moved across the country primarily from February 28 – March 2. These storms dropped well over 100 tornadoes, based upon preliminary reports. According to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center, as of March 6, there were 47 confirmed deaths in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee.
The Southeast: Beneficial precipitation moved through some of the most intense drought areas of the Southeast this week. Storms which brought tornadoes from Ohio and Illinois down through Alabama also brought multiple inches of rain from the panhandle of Florida up into the Delmarva Peninsula. Areas of Exceptional Drought (D4) were alleviated in south Georgia. Extreme Drought (D3) improved in northern Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Severe Drought (D2) improved in Florida and the Carolinas. Moderate Drought (D1) improved in southern Alabama and northern Florida.
The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Adequate rains fell this week the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Areas of Abnormal Dryness (D0) improved in the southern Delmarva Peninsula and in southeastern Maine.
The South and Southern Plains: With the exception of the extreme south of Texas and near New Orleans, LA, little precipitation fell in the South this week. Minor improvements in Exceptional Drought (D3) were made around southeastern Louisiana and in south-central Texas. The mounting lack of precipitation in western Texas and the Texas Panhandle led to expansion in all drought classes in those areas including expansion of Exceptional Drought (D4). In Kansas, Moderate Drought (D1) and Abnormal Dryness (D0) expanded in the north-central and western part of the State.
The Northern Plains and Midwest: Conditions in the Northern Plains improved some this week with the passing of a front that dumped rain and snow across much of the region. Moderate Drought (D1) improved in North and South Dakota and in northeast Nebraska. Abnormal Dryness (D0) improved in South Dakota. In the Midwest, conditions improved slightly in northwest Iowa with contraction of Severe Drought (D2).
The West: The West was generally dry this week with the exception of the extreme Northwest. Drought conditions remain unchanged in most areas but intensified in northern Utah, in southern Oregon and near the Nevada – California border where long-term deficits are mounting.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: Drought conditions remained unchanged in Alaska and Puerto Rico this week. In Hawaii, precipitation on the south end of the Big Island led to improvement in Severe (D2) and Moderate Drought (D1). Oahu saw a contraction of the Abnormal Dryness (D0) there.