DROUGHT MONITOR



A powerful spring storm emerged from the West and brought extreme conditions to several regions. For example, historic, late-season snow blanketed portions of the northern Plains, upper Midwest, and Great Lakes region, snarling traffic and severely stressing livestock. Meanwhile, dry, windy weather contributed to a major wildfire outbreak, starting on April 12, and led to blowing dust and further reductions in rangeland, pasture, and crop conditions. Farther east, heavy showers and locally severe thunderstorms swept across portions of the southern and eastern U.S. Elsewhere, unsettled, showery weather lingered in the Northwest, extending as far south as northern California.

A storm system crossing the nation’s northern tier will reach the Northeast on Thursday, bearing rain and snow. A more significant storm will traverse the West and produce heavy snow in the central Rockies before crossing the Plains on Friday. Precipitation totals associated with the storm will be variable, but some drought-stricken areas of the central and southern Plains could receive as much as 0.5 to 2.0 inches of rain. During the weekend, showers and thunderstorms will erupt across the mid-South and spread into the Southeast. By early next week, warm, dry weather should overspread much of the western U.S., while chilly conditions will linger across the South and East.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for April 24 – 28 calls for the likelihood of near- to below-normal temperatures across most of the eastern half of the U.S., while warmer-than-normal weather will cover the West. Meanwhile, near- to below-normal precipitation across the majority of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions in a few areas, including the Atlantic Coast States and central and southern sections of the Rockies and High Plains.

A major, late-season storm dumped heavy snow across much of the northern half of the region, sharply reducing the coverage of abnormal dryness (D0). In Wisconsin, April 13-16 storm-total snowfall included 24.2 inches in Green Bay and 20.7 inches in Wausau. In both locations, it was the biggest April storm (previously, 11.0 inches in Green Bay on April 4-5, 1977, and 12.1 inches in Wausau on April 15-16, 1993) and the second-highest event total on record. Green Bay’s greatest snowfall occurred on March 1-2, 1888, with 29.0 inches; Wausau’s biggest snowfall, on March 5-6, 1959, was 22.1 inches.