Drought eased over the past week across an area stretching from Texas to Pennsylvania. Today’s National Drought Monitor summary notes that several storm systems impacted the Lower 48 the week ending Jan. 5. “The first spread snowfall across the Rockies and into the Plains and Midwest. The second spread snow and ice from Texas across the central U.S. and into the Northeast,” the update says.
It adds that “Deteriorating conditions were minimal and limited to areas such as the Pacific Northwest, North Dakota and Hawaii, where moisture deficits continued to increase.”
As of Jan. 5, 45.8% of the contiguous U.S. is dealing with moderate drought or worse, a 3.2-point improvement from the week prior. Another 15.8% of the area is abnormally dry, a 1.6-point improvement from the week prior.
Last week’s storm brought 1 to 4 inches of precipitation to Texas, which tops normal precip for the entire month of January, resulting in one- to two-category drought improvements in all but far western areas of the state, the Panhandle and far southern Texas.
North Dakota saw a mix of drought degradation and improvement. But Nebraska and South Dakota saw virtually no change. Southeast Kansas saw one-category improvements thanks to a band of heavy rain. Net change on the High Plains was very limited, with 81.1% of the region impacted by some form of drought, a 1.4-point decline from the week prior.
Northern Missouri, Illinois and Indiana also received more than 200% of normal rain and snowfall over the past week, easing drought in Missouri but primarily maintaining the status quo in Illinois and Indiana.