Drought Monitor

A mixture of rain and snow accompanied a low pressure system from the Great Lakes to New England during early January. An upper-level low and its associated surface low tracked across the central and eastern U.S. from January 11 to 13. More than 4 inches of snow blanketed areas from Kansas east to the middle Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley, and mid-Atlantic. Snowfall reports of up to 20 inches were reported from northern Missouri, while 8 to 13 inches of snow occurred in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Periods of onshore flow continued to affect the West Coast although precipitation generally averaged below normal across the Pacific Northwest during the past week. A vigorous upper-level low approached southern California on January 14, bringing heavy snow (6 to 12 inches) to elevations above 5,000 feet and locally heavy rain (more than 1 inch) from the Los Angeles area south to San Diego.

During the next 5 days (January 17-21, 2019), a low pressure system is forecast to develop across the southern Great Plains and then track northeast to the Ohio Valley. This low pressure system is expected to become a strong coastal low near southern New England. A swath of moderate to heavy snow and freezing rain is likely to accompany the winter storm from the middle Mississippi Valley northeast to the northern mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Although mostly dry weather is forecast across ongoing drought areas of southern Texas, light rainfall is anticipated across southern Florida during the next five days. Widespread rain and high-elevation snow are forecast throughout the western U.S. through early next week with heavy snow likely across the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Rockies. In the wake of the central and eastern U.S. winter storm this weekend, arctic high pressure is forecast to shift south from Canada and bring the coldest temperatures so far this winter to the northern Great Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. Periods of rainfall are expected across the western Hawaiian Islands during the next five days.

The CPC 6-10 day extended range outlook (January 22-26, 2019) indicates enhanced odds for below normal temperatures across much of the eastern two-thirds of the continental U.S .along with the central Rockies, Great Basin, and Southwest. Above-normal precipitation is favored from the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast and also across the northern and central Great Plains. High odds for below-normal precipitation are forecast across the Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, and California. Above normal precipitation is favored throughout Alaska, while above normal temperatures are most likely across southern mainland Alaska and the Alaska Panhandle.

Widespread precipitation (mostly moderate to heavy snow) occurred this past week from Missouri east to the Ohio Valley. Precipitation amounts exceeded 1 inch across southwest Missouri where precipitation surpluses of 2 to 4 inches, or more, were observed. Since precipitation has averaged close to average during the past 90 days, any lingering abnormal dryness was removed. A small area of abnormal dryness (D0) exists across northwestern Minnesota where the ground is frozen and snow-covered.