Despite an active weather pattern across much of the West coast and showers in the Midwest, the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report released Thursday shows only a small handful of improvements in Louisiana and California. One-category degradations appeared across the Plains, Missouri and Illinois.
David Simeral, Western Regional Climate Center, says the western disturbances delivered rain showers to the lower elevations and mountain snow showers to the higher elevations, while the Southwest remained in a warm and dry pattern.
In the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, the pattern of below-normal temperatures and snow showers persisted. Across the Southern Plains and western portions of Texas, dry and windy conditions continued to deplete soil moisture levels.
In the Midwest, short-term precipitation deficits, pockets of dry soils, and below-normal streamflow activity led to expansion of abnormally dry conditions in southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri.
According to the NWS National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center, Simeral reports, the total area covered by snow in the northern Great Lakes region was 56.2% as of April 1, 2014.
In the northern Plains, below-normal temperatures and areas of snowfall including blizzard-like conditions appeared earlier in the Drought Monitor week. According to the NWS in Bismarck, North Dakota, record daily maximum snowfall of 8.1 inches was observed in Bismarck on Monday.
In the southern Plains, continued short-term precipitation deficits, declining range and pasture conditions, and areas of below-normal streamflow activity led to expansion of areas of moderate and severe drought in the eastern half of Kansas and central Oklahoma, Simeral reports.
Alabama and Mississippi, eastern and northern Louisiana, and east Texas saw 2-4 inches of precipitation, leading to small areas of improvement.
In west Texas, however, conditions continued to deteriorate as short- and long-term precipitation deficits and declining reservoir levels raised concern. Dry and windy conditions continued to spark dust storms in the Texas panhandle.
During the past week, a series of disturbances pushed on-shore from the Pacific delivering much-needed rain and snow to northern California and Oregon, Simeral says.
In northern California, liquid precipitation accumulations ranged from 2-6 inches in the northern coastal mountains while the northern Sierras received 3-11 inches.
Despite short-term gains, however, the long-term deficits across the region remained substantial, Simeral says. According to the California Department of Water Resources, California's latest snowpack survey results show the state's snow-water equivalent is only 32%of the average April 1st measurement.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor