Following several significant storm systems over the past several weeks, last week was much quieter in terms of precipitation, the Drought Monitor reported Thursday.
The quiet week was noted especially in the East, where much of the snow and rain from weeks past fell. The region this week saw below-normal temperatures along with some modest half- to one-inch precipitation totals, the Drought Monitor reports.
Drought has retreated a bit in parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia and southeastern North Carolina as well as northeastern coastal South Carolina. For the rest of the region, the short-term precipitation hasn't been enough to surpass the lingering 60-90 day deficits across the region and well up into New England.
D0 continues to expand northward along the coast and into east-central Florida as the below-normal "dry" season continues its march toward 2014. D0 and D1 have started to expand across the southern tier of counties in Alabama, and D0 is noted across the far western reaches of the Florida Panhandle and into southeastern Mississippi.
In the Midwest and Central and Northern Plains, only central Kansas saw any changes – a slight expansion of D1.
Drought is beginning to swell again across parts of southern Texas and western Oklahoma and the panhandles of both states, the Drought Monitor shows. Scattered pockets of increases and/or introductions of D1 and D3 are noted in both states given the continued dryness of late on top of long-term dryness, which has left behind dry stock ponds and slowed winter wheat and pasture growth/recovery, the report says.
Dismal water year numbers continue to plague Oregon and Washington, as the area shows an expansion of D0 this week. Many Oregon locales are approaching record dry calendar years.
Across the West in general, early USDA-NRCS SNOTEL readings are low for both Water-Year-to-Date precipitation and snow water equivalent. Values as of Dec. 17 are in the 30-50% of normal range.
Although there are no changes to the map in California this week with D2 and D3 in place across 83% of the state, impacts are beginning to show. The NWS office in Los Angeles/Oxnard reported on Dec. 16 that Los Angeles is on track for its driest calendar year on record with data going back to 1877, the Drought Monitor said.
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