According to the updated National Drought Monitor, slight drought improvement was seen across the West, although all of California remains covered by some form of drought. Still, after a series of storms came ashore along the West Coast and dove into the Southwest, many areas of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado received significant amounts of rain and snow.
In California, the monitor notes that even with the rain and snow received over the last several weeks, many areas are still running below normal for precipitation and snow for the current water year. "Wells, reservoirs, ground water and soil moisture are all recovering slowly, which is to be expected after three-plus years of drought," it states. "Precipitation in northern California eased some of the exceptional drought. The consensus from California experts is that recovery will be slow, and many more storm events are needed through the rest of winter to really put a dent in the drought."
Removal of Eastern Corn Belt Drought
Temperatures remained on the warm side over most of the Midwest, with northern Michigan hitting 8-10 degrees above normal. "Much of the Midwest recorded precipitation for the week, with the wettest areas being from southern Illinois into Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, with total precipitation for the week over 1 inch," states the monitor. "This precipitation led to removal of all the abnormally dry conditions from Indiana, Ohio and much of southern Michigan this week."
More precip headed to West
In the forecast for the next five to seven days, the monitor notes an active pattern will bring precipitation to much of the Pacific Northwest and northern California, which could see as much as 8 inches of precipitation. "Much of the area from the Mississippi Valley to the east also looks favorable for precipitation, with the greatest amounts along the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard. Temperatures will be normal to slightly-above-normal over the West and East, cooler-than-normal over the High Plains, and above-normal over the Southern Plains," states the monitor.