This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw an active weather pattern impact various parts of the conterminous U.S.—including the western U.S. which continued to experience below-normal temperatures and snow showers in the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest (Olympics, Cascades), California (Northern Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada), and parts of the Intermountain West (Wasatch, central and northern Rockies). In other parts of the Pacific Northwest, including central Oregon and Washington, drought intensified while improvement in drought-related conditions occurred in the Four Corners of northeastern Arizona. Elsewhere, an outbreak of severe weather, including showers and thunderstorms as well as tornadoes, affected parts of the Midwest and South. Along the Gulf Coast, temperatures were well-above normal with numerous single-day high temperature records broken. In Florida, drought conditions expanded across much of the state after another week of unseasonably warm temperatures and continued dryness with numerous cities across the state experiencing record dryness for the month.
On this week’s map, the region remained drought-free and several small areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island were removed in response to precipitation events during the past several weeks, which provided a boost in soil moisture and streamflow levels. Average temperatures for the week were above normal across most of the region with largest positive anomalies (6-to-10+ degrees) observed across western portions of Pennsylvania as well as New York and West Virginia. Much of the region observed light precipitation during the past week with liquid accumulations of generally less than one inch with the exception of areas of central and western Pennsylvania that received 2-to-3 inches accumulation while snow showers were observed in the Adirondacks, Green Mountains, and White Mountains.
During the past week, precipitation was observed across much of the northern portion of the region with the heaviest accumulations (3-to-5 inches) observed across northern portions of Alabama and Georgia while other parts of the region, including the Carolinas, received accumulations of generally less than two inches. In the southern portion of Alabama and Georgia as well as in Florida, the hot and dry pattern persisted leading to expansion of areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1). In these areas, the 7-day average streamflows were mainly below normal levels. In Florida, a number of observing stations around the state recorded their driest March on record including Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (0.00”), St. Petersburg Albert Whitted Airport (0.00”), and Vero Beach International Airport (0.02”). According to the March 30 USDA Crop Progress and Condition Report, pasture conditions in Florida were steadily deteriorating around the state because of the abnormally warm temperatures and decreasing soil moisture levels.
On this week’s map, drought-affected areas of southern Texas and the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana and Mississippi saw continued deterioration resulting from the lack of rainfall and abnormally high temperatures. During the past week, a number of daily high-temperature records were either tied or broken across the region — including at the New Orleans International Airport that soared to 89 F on March 25. Along the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana and Mississippi, precipitation deficits (ranging from 3-to-6 inches) for the past 30-day period led to expansion of areas of Moderate Drought (D1). In the South Texas Plains and Gulf Coast Region, hot and dry weather this week led to continued expansion of areas of Moderate Drought (D1), Severe Drought (D2), and Extreme Drought (D3). In far southern portions of the state, temperatures reached the high 90s last week. According to the latest USDA Texas Crop Progress and Condition Report, some failed fields (small grains) in South Texas are being reported because of dry conditions while livestock across the state was rated in fair-to-good condition. In Oklahoma, above-normal precipitation during the past 30-day period led to removal of areas of Abnormally Dry (D0 and Moderate Drought (D1) in southwestern Oklahoma.
On this week’s map, the region remained drought free. For the week, severe weather impacted much of the region including showers and thunderstorms as well as tornadic activity in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Wisconsin. Precipitation accumulations for the week ranged from 1-to-3 inches with the greatest accumulations observed in northern Illinois, central Indiana, southern Michigan, and northern Ohio. Average temperatures were above normal across the region with the largest positive anomalies observed in the southern half of the region that saw average temperatures for the week ranging from 6-to-10+ degrees above normal.
On this week’s map, only minor changes were made in Wyoming where an area of Abnormally Dry (D0) was introduced in response to below-normal snowpack conditions at