According to the updated National Drought Monitor, drought is rapidly expanding across Kansas, with 74% of the state now impacted by some form of drought, an increase of 17% from the previous week. Drought also expanded across Oklahoma, with 59% of the states now covered, compared to 35% the previous week. Texas has 25% now covered by drought, an increase of around 10% from the previous week.
The monitor notes, "Amid the expanding D0 and D1, snow fell in some areas on March 26-27, totaling 3.5 inches in Wichita, Kansas, and 1.3 inches in Amarillo, Texas. However, the snow melted within hours, followed by a return to warm, windy conditions late in the drought-monitoring period."
Drought also expanded significantly across Missouri, with 51% of the state covered by abnormally dry (D0) conditions, compared to less than 1% the previous week. The monitor notes the middle of the Mississippi Valley has received little precip since the start of the year.
Looking ahead, the monitor states forecasts look for a storm system to cross the Great Lakes region on March 29, producing a mix of rain and snow. "The storm’s trailing cold front will reach the Atlantic Seaboard on March 30, but should stall across the lower Southeast. Precipitation totals associated with the storm (and its cold front) could reach 2 to 5 inches — in the form of heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms — across the Southeast, and 1 to 2 inches along and north of the path of the low-pressure system," it states. "During the first few days of April, warm, dry weather will dominate the West, while a blast of cold air and snow showers will engulf the Great Lakes and Northeastern States. During the next five days, the Southern Plains will remain mostly dry with rapid temperature fluctuations."