Summary: The Ohio River Valley was impacted for the third week in a row with rainfall, eliminating drought in this area. Portions of Mississippi and Alabama have received as much as ten inches of rain over the last two weeks. In Texas and Oklahoma, drought is becoming more severe and impacts in agriculture and wildland fire are apparent.
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Drought-free conditions continue in the Northeastern United States this week. Concerns regarding some minor flooding in western and northern Virginia and the surrounding area led to a one-category improvement from West Virginia to the Chesapeake Bay.
Southeast: Western North Carolina received some beneficial precipitation, with some local amounts totaling as much as four inches. The Piedmont and coastal plains were not as fortunate. Groundwater, streamflow and water supply concerns are waning, but rainfall has not yet arrived on the severe drought region. This week’s map depicts a tightened gradient between drought-free and moderate drought in the central part of the state, and abnormally dry conditions have expanded all the way to the coast. In South Carolina, D1 is expanded in the southeast to reflect further drying in Colleton and Dorchester counties.
A large swath of heavy rainfall impacted Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and northern Georgia during this Drought Monitor period. Local data report nearly ten inches of rain for the seven- to 14-day period. Improvements in drought severity are made throughout this region, resulting in a two-category reduction across the Mississippi/Alabama border, and a large area of D0 that reflects long-term shortage of precipitation.
In southern Tennessee, a one-category change to no drought and D0 is shown as a result of the wet period that started a few weeks ago. This brings nearly all of the Volunteer State into drought-free status on the map.
This week’s widespread rainfall, one to two inches in most areas, held constant the drought conditions in Florida, with neither improvement nor degradation made to the map.
South: Deteriorating conditions in Texas and Oklahoma led to increased drought severity this week. In addition to the widespread wildfires in the region, impacts from agricultural areas are starting to be reported in counties along the Red River that illustrate the extreme nature of drought. Other regions that have increased in severity this week include: Midland, TX, Childress and the panhandle of Texas, and south Texas. South central Oklahoma has been drying out of late, and winter wheat is not in good condition. Wichita Falls, TX, is in its second driest period for November to March 15, since 1850. Pecos county, TX, is very short on rainfall, with just .01 inches reported since October 1. D2 and D3 is expanded in east central Texas as well.