Drier than normal conditions prevailed over most of the country last week, says this week's Drought Monitor, resulting in several degradations across eastern Oklahoma and Kansas, Pennsylvania and Alabama.
Drought Monitor author Richard Tinker of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports few improvements nationwide, except for a one-category change in Central Idaho.
In California, the state hardest-hit by extended drought, between 2 and 5 inches of precipitation fell in the northwestern region, but the bulk of the state was dry.
Short-term deficits continued growing in the Sierra Nevada and adjacent Nevada, and intensely dry conditions persisted, he said.
Moving north, significant precipitation fell on areas west of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest, but this region is climatologically wet, and there was little impact on areas of dryness and drought, Tinker said. Areas of dryness and drought remained unchanged.
In the High Plains and into the Rockies, the only significant precipitation was observed in central and western Idaho, part of eastern Washington and Oregon, and a patch in western Wyoming.
Precipitation in portions of Idaho has been persistently above normal for the last several months, and D0 was removed from a broad area of the state.
The rest of the northern Intermoutain West received a few tenths to one inch of precipitation, and the rest of this broad region across the interior West was mostly dry.
The eastern Texas Panhandle into central Oklahoma and eastern Kansas also has been dry. These conditions prompted fairly broad expansion of D0 through eastern sections of Oklahoma and Kansas, plus adjacent Missouri. Patchy deterioration was noted farther west in the region.
Again, dry weather prompted expansion of moderate drought into southwestern Tennessee, northeast Arkansas, and the adjacent Missouri Bootheel.
Long-term precipitation deficits are largest in most of the D1 areas of northeast Arkansas, where they've climbed into the 8 to 14 inch range over the course of the last 6 months, Tinker said.
No measurable precipitation fell in the Northern Plains and Midwest last week, but Tinker notes seasonably to abnormally cold weather locked conditions in place, preventing deterioration.
Along the Central Gulf Coast, D0 was expanded into central and southeast Alabama. Other areas of dryness and drought remained unchanged.
Abnormal dryness along the East Coast persisted and expanded, Tinker said. D0 was extended across central and northwestern Pennsylvania and parts of the Maryland and Virginia Panhandles.
Source: U.S. Drought Monitor/Richard Tinker/NOAA
The U.S. Drought Monitor is produced in partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.