Drought Monitor

A wet weather pattern persisted across most of the nation, as the active Atlantic and Eastern North Pacific Hurricane Seasons continued. Hurricane Michael rapidly intensified just prior to slamming ashore in the Florida Panhandle, producing heavy rain across portions of the Southeast but causing fatalities as well as widespread, locally catastrophic damage to homes, businesses, infrastructure, and agriculture. Out west, moisture associated with Hurricane Sergio triggered additional moderate to heavy rain across the lower Four Corners Region. Abundant moisture associated in part with the remnants of Sergio also led to another round of heavy rain from Texas northeastward into the middle Mississippi Valley. Likewise, rain and snow afforded drought relief from the central and northern Rockies into the upper Midwest. The unsettled conditions continued across the southern U.S. after the period ended; any rain that fell after 12z Tuesday morning (8 am, EDT) will be incorporated into next week’s analysis.

Mostly dry conditions will prevail across the contiguous U.S., with the threat of additional heavy rain confined to Texas. Showers will accompany a strong cold front over the eastern third of the nation Friday into Saturday, but amounts will be generally light. This same front will bring sharply colder weather on gusty winds as well rain and high-elevation snow showers to the northeastern quarter of the nation. In contrast, high pressure will maintain mostly dry weather across the central and western U.S., save for lingering rain and snow showers over the Four Corners States. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for October 23 – 27 calls for near- to above-normal precipitation over much of the nation, with the greatest likelihood of wetter-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest, southern Plains, and eastern Gulf Coast. Drier-than-normal weather will be limited to the Great Lakes and Northeast. Warmer-than-normal weather across the eastern half of the nation — save for warmth across the central and eastern Gulf Coast — will contrast with above-normal temperatures from the northern Plains to the Pacific Coast States.

While much of the Midwest remained free of drought, well-placed rain and snow eased or eliminated lingering dryness in southwestern and northwestern portions of the region. Rain totaled 1 to 4 inches (locally more) from southcentral Missouri northward into eastern Iowa and western Illinois, reducing or eliminating Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1). However, longer-term deficits lingered, with 6-month precipitation locally less than 70 percent of normal in the D1 areas of central and southern Missouri. Meanwhile, the first widespread snow event of the season supplied beneficial moisture to the driest areas of northern Minnesota; snow depths topped 4 inches, with snow-water liquid equivalent locally in excess of one inch supporting a reduction of D0 and D1.