“A tandem of winter storms impacted the country during the week, bringing cold temperatures, heavy snow, and strong winds to the mountainous areas of the west, northern Plains, upper Midwest, and Northeast. Lower elevations and latitudes dealt with a combination of weather impacts, including moderate to heavy rainfall in the Southwest, showers and thunderstorms across the South and lower Midwest, and freezing rain to the Mid-Atlantic regions,” according to today’s National Drought Monitor update.
This resulted in a mix of degradation and improvement for the South. Central-Texas saw a one-category improvement thanks to rainfall last week, while the eastern part of the state continued to dry out, resulting in an expansion in the abnormal drought and moderate drought footprint. “An area of extreme drought (D3) was also introduced as precipitation deficits continue to build and impact rangeland,” the Monitor added.
Northwest Oklahoma also saw abnormal dryness/moderate drought expand amid continued dry weather and high winds. This fueled wildfire outbreaks. USDA reports dry weather has dried out topsoil and left winter wheat underdeveloped, according to the report.
Southwest Kansas saw an expansion of abnormal dryness and moderate drought in response to continued developing dryness, low streamflow conditions, and impacts to winter wheat. Eastern Colorado was the one area in the region that saw improvements (to areas of D0 and D1) as the result of cold, wet conditions in November.
The Midwest remains drought-free after last week’s rains.