In the Oklahoma panhandle, severe drought is depicted as deterioration continues in field conditions and a persistent lack of rainfall.
Central: Flooding concerns continue in the Ohio River Valley, and this week’s map brings this area into drought-free status. Central Missouri received two to three inches of rain for the seven-day period, and improvements are made in this region.
High Plains: The Dakotas are bracing for spring flooding as temperatures are warming and their thick snowpack begins to melt. In the Nebraska panhandle, the area of abnormally dry conditions was reduced to better reflect winter season precipitation totals that are near to above normal.
West: Drought continues to hold its grip in the Southwest. Extreme (D3) is expanded to include parts or all of the southern New Mexico counties of Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra and Dona Ana. The Standardized Precipitation Index has values of -2 to -3 across this region, in addition to reports from locals noting increased fire danger. Moderate drought is expanded to cover central New Mexico, including Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Although no changes are made in Arizona this week, the north area of abnormally dry conditions is expanded to include southern San Juan county in Utah. Precipitation data and other drought indicators show short-term dryness in this low-elevation region of the San Juan River watershed.
A small area of improvement is also made in southeastern Wyoming, as a reflection of near- to above-normal precipitation in the Cheyenne, WY, area for the winter season thus far.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: In Hawaii, reports of improving field conditions on Molokai led to a one-category improvement on this island. Elsewhere in Hawaii there was no change.
An assessment of Alaska’s winter season precipitation and streamflow for this time of year changed the depiction on this week’s map. D0 is introduced in the south and southeast part of the state, and is reduced in the east central region.
Puerto Rico’s dry season is even drier than normal, and rainfall and streamflow data are showing it. Abnormally dry, or D0, was introduced in the southeast.
Looking Ahead: A strong low pressure system will move onshore in the western US early in the next US Drought Monitor period, bringing a few feet of snow and several inches of water equivalent to the northern Sierra Nevada mountains in California. As this system moves inland, it will carry beneficial snow to the higher elevations in the northern Rocky Mountains and low elevation rain. High pressure will take hold over the Southeast, which could exacerbate drought conditions in that region over the weekend. Snow and rain will continue to impact the Northeast, particularly from upstate New York to Maine for the next few days.