Drought Monitor

During the U.S. Drought Monitor week ending on December 4, 2018, a powerful storm system impacted much of the continental United States. The storm delivered heavy rain and mountain snow to the West, snow and wind to parts of the Plains and upper Midwest, and severe weather and tornadoes to the mid-Mississippi valley and Southeast coast. The precipitation with this storm brought improvements to drought areas in parts of the Sierra Nevada and Central Valley and helped to relieve long-term deficits in parts of the Intermountain West and Plains. With the exception of the Florida Peninsula, all remaining drought areas east of the Mississippi River have been eliminated. Degradations this week were limited to an expansion of abnormally dry conditions in Texas.

Over the next week, cold air is expected to remain entrenched across parts of the central and eastern United States. One storm system is forecast to traverse the southern US from late this week through the weekend. With ample amounts of moisture available, the National Weather Service quantitative precipitation forecast calls for moderate to heavy precipitation in the form of rain, snow, and some areas of a wintry mix from parts of the Southern Plains eastward into the Southeast. Elsewhere, another storm system is expected to move in from the Pacific early next week, bringing additional precipitation to the west coast states. In between these two storm systems, a ridge in the jet stream will deliver dry conditions to the Plains and Midwest.

This week’s storm brought a mix of weather to the Midwest including rain, snow, and severe thunderstorms. The precipitation helped alleviate some of the lingering pockets abnormal dryness in Minnesota and Missouri.