This Week's Drought Summary (11/5)

Hurricane Zeta made landfall near Cocodrie in southeastern Louisiana during the late afternoon on Wednesday, October 28, as a Category 2 hurricane with sustained winds estimate at 110 mph. With a fast northeastern track that took it off the mid-Atlantic Coast in about 24 hours, the rapid pace limited rainfall totals along its track to between 2 and 4 inches, with locally heavier amounts in southern Mississippi and Alabama of up to 8 inches. Unfortunately, the fast pace delayed the weakening of Zeta’s winds, and widespread wind damage and power outages occurred along Zeta’s path, even into the mid-Atlantic. In addition as the period started, an upper-air low over the southern Rockies slowly tracked eastward, becoming infused with tropical moisture from Zeta and the Gulf of Mexico. It dumped 1.5 to 3.5 inches of precipitation, locally to 5 inches, from the western Oklahoma and northern Texas Panhandles eastward across northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, and into the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Although the precipitation was very beneficial to the winter wheat crop and pastures, some of the precipitation fell in the form of snow and freezing rain in western Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas, causing damage. Once the upper-air low and Zeta cleared the East Coast, much drier and colder air rushed into the Northeast and Southeast, with light snow accumulating across parts of western New England and upstate New York. Elsewhere, little or no precipitation occurred in the Far West, Southwest, Rockies, southern and northern Plains, and upper Midwest. Subnormal weekly temperatures enveloped the Midwest, southern and central Plains, and Northeast, while the West, Rockies, and Southeast experienced near to above-normal readings. Welcome showers fell across most of Puerto Rico while drought expanded across portions of Hawaii’s Big Island.