Drought Monitor

As spring nears, winter has kept its grip over much of the country. Temperatures were below average across the contiguous U.S, up to 25 degrees below normal for the week in the North. Following the wettest winter (December-February) on record for the contiguous U.S. as a whole, storms continued to bring heavy rain and snow, piling on snowpack and filling reservoirs in the West, but also causing avalanches in Colorado. Generally, heavy snow fell across high elevations in California, the Rockies into the Upper Great Lakes and Mid-Mississippi Valley, with heavy rain across parts of Southern California and the Tennessee Valley. The abundant precipitation in the West led to more widespread drought improvement. Little to no precipitation fell across the southern tier of the U.S., continuing a pattern of below-average rainfall seen over the last 2-3 months in parts of the Southeast, as dry conditions begin to emerge.

The central U.S. is anticipating a very strong storm from the12th to the 14th, with the threat of blizzard conditions from the Rockies to the Central and Northern Plains to the Upper Midwest, and severe storms with hurricane-force winds from the Southern Plains to the Mid-Mississippi River Valley. Heavy rains in the Midwest and Great Plains may melt snow that lead to significant flooding. The storm is expected to impact 70 million people. Looking further out into the next week, much of the nation may see dry, cool weather, with below-average temperatures and below-average precipitation forecast across most of the eastern half of contiguous U.S. Looking two weeks ahead, increased chances of above-normal precipitation are forecast for Alaska, the southern Florida Peninsula, and the western half of the contiguous U.S. The eastern half, on the other hand, is forecast to continue seeing drier-than-normal conditions.

Every state in the Midwest received above-average to much-above-average precipitation during the meteorological winter season (December to February), leaving the area with deep snowpack and overall wet conditions. With temperatures around 10 to 20+ degrees F below average over the past week, the entire region remains free of drought and dryness.