According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought expanded for the week ended Feb. 28 across the southern sections of Illinois and Indiana, with an increase in drought intensity in Missouri. Drought now covers 51.1% of Illinois (50.9% last week) and 52.5% of Indiana (10.0% last week). Drought covers 98.5% of Missouri (95.5% last week), with 64.4% now covered by moderate (D1) drought compared to 49.6% last week.
The monitor notes, "With precipitation for the week below normal by the Tuesday morning cutoff, D0 expanded across the lower Ohio Valley to southwest Ohio and across parts of Kentucky to reflect dry conditions at the 7- to 120-day time scales. D0-D1 expanded across Missouri."
However, the monitor notes that in the two days since the Tuesday morning cutoff time of this week’s data, a frontal system dropped 1-2 inches of rain, and locally more, across parts of the Ohio Valley D0 area, with half an inch or more falling across parts of the Southeast.
Meanwhile, while there is no change from the previous week to the area impacted by drought in Kansas, but a slight increase in drought intensity was seen. Drought covers 65.8% of the state, with 37.3% now covered by moderate (D1) drought compared to 26.2% last week.
Oklahoma, on the other hand, saw a slight improvement in drought, with 87.4% covered by some form of drought compared to 88.5% last week. However, Texas now has 24.5% of its area covered by drought, compared to 8.4% last week, although there is only scattered drought in the Panhandle area.
In its outlook, the monitor states, "For March 2-9, 3-5 inches of precipitation, and locally more, is forecast for north coastal California to western Washington; 1-2 inches over parts of the Northern Rockies; and a tenth of an inch or more across the rest of the Northwest into the Great Basin. Precipitation is expected across parts of the Southern Plains to Southeast, Northern Plains to Great Lakes, and along the Eastern Seaboard, with amounts ranging from a few tenths of an inch across most of these regions, to an inch or two across southern Texas, the Gulf Coast, and northern Great Lakes. Most of the Southwest into the Central Plains should be dry."
"Above-normal temperatures are expected for most of the CONUS, with the greatest departures in the Central Plains, while below-normal temperatures may linger in the Pacific Northwest. Odds favor the temperature anomaly pattern persisting through March 10-15, with cooler-than-normal temperatures expected for Alaska," it states. "March 10-15 projections favor a continuation of the precipitation anomaly pattern with below-normal precipitation from the Southwest to Central Plains and along the Gulf of Mexico coast to Mid-Atlantic States, with above-normal precipitation favored for the rest of the CONUS."