According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor analysis, for the most part, America is moist with limited drought conditions around. Recent precipitation in the northeast and Mid Atlantic have wiped-out dry conditions there while dry conditions are getting a bit worse for portions of Texas.
An active weather pattern recently has replenished ground moisture in a large part of the country. Earlier this winter, the Rockies were trending dry, but recent heavy snow events there have brought drought relief. Last week, heavy precipitation stretched from the Middle Atlantic States southwestward into the Lower Mississippi Valley and the Southeast, with 2″ reported around the Ohio River to near the Gulf and southern Atlantic coasts, with 7-10″ measured across the interior southeast. Because of this heavy rain, significant flooding is occurring in portions of Mississippi. Heavy precipitation also fell on portions of the coastal northwest; portions of the Washington and Oregon coast saw more than 4″, with 10″ of liquid equivalent falling in the mountains. Along the Cascade Range from central Oregon northward, a broad swath received 5″ of precipitation and some portions of central Washington saw local totals in the 10-15″ range.
While much of the country is moving away from drought conditions, the same isn’t true for portions of west Texas where extreme drought conditions persist. While moderate rains in north-central Texas as well as the Red River Valley helped moisten things up there, moderate drought remains over southwestern Oklahoma. Farther south, most areas of dryness and drought across central and southern Texas received little if any precipitation, prompting areas of drought intensification and expansion. Severe drought now covers large portions of central and southwestern Texas; over the last 90 days, precipitation deficits reached 5-7″ across interior eastern Texas, and less than 25% of normal has fallen around the areas of extreme drought in southwestern Texas.
While not depicted on the national map, drought conditions are also improving in Hawaii and Alaska. According to the latest Drought Monitor update, “The drought areas in Maui and the Big Island reported substantial rainfall this past week, but impacts have not tangibly improved at this time, so the depiction remains unchanged from last week.” Light to moderate rain across Alaska also kept things relatively unchanged there as it relates to drought.