The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: An early season winter storm impacted much of the northeast, with several locations recording more than a foot of very wet snow. To the south, temperatures were warm enough that snow was not an issue, but significant rain was recorded. No drought concerns are evident throughout this region at this time.
Southeast: Wet conditions through the Tennessee and Ohio valley regions allowed for the removal of a small area of D0 in Kentucky. Dry conditions continued along the Gulf Coast, where the impact of the rain associated with earlier tropical storms is beginning to fade. In southern Alabama, D1 was expanded to the west and to the south into the Florida panhandle. In Mississippi, D0 was introduced in the southern portions of the state, connecting the D0 regions in Alabama and Louisiana. The D1 region in northwestern South Carolina along the border with North Carolina was expanded as well as D0 in western North Carolina. Even with frequent storm systems passing through over the last few weeks, they have not accounted for enough rain to improve conditions in the region.
South: As with other locations along the Gulf Coast, the southern portions of Louisiana have remained dry, with many agricultural producers lacking adequate forage. With the continued dryness, D0 was introduced into the southeast part of the state while D1 was expanded as well. Arkansas continued a pattern of rainfall over the northwest portions of the state last week where many locations recorded more than 1 inch of rain. Over the last 90 days, this region has received multiple rain events that have continued to improve conditions. With the regular rain events, D2 conditions were improved to D1 this week for all of northwestern Arkansas.
Significant rains over portions of Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle allowed for improvements to the overall drought situation this week. The D4 conditions in eastern Oklahoma were improved to D3. In southern Oklahoma, Jefferson County was improved to D2 this week, while Clay, Jack, Wichita and Archer counties in Texas also saw a categorical improvement in response to recent rains. In the Texas panhandle, D4 conditions were improved to D3 where the most significant rain has been recorded over the last 60 days. Improvements will be slow in both Oklahoma and Texas as 86 percent of Oklahoma’s and 89 percent of Texas’ pasture and range lands are in poor to very poor condition. In Texas, 88 percent of the topsoil is rated short to very short this week as well.
Midwest: Autumn remained dry over the Midwest, helping harvest to proceed rapidly, but also not providing much soil moisture replenishment before winter. Much of the region has experienced very dry conditions over the last 60-90 days and this week was no different. In Iowa, D2 was expanded in the south central and north central portions of the state. Southwest Iowa saw D1 introduced and D0 was expanded in the northeast part of the state. Minnesota continued to be dry, especially along the northern border where D1 was expanded to the west this week. Southern Minnesota had D2 conditions expand and the area in central Minnesota that was drought free had D0 introduced this week as the remnants of heavy rains in August have diminished. In Missouri, D1 was expanded to all of the northwest part of the state while D0 conditions were introduced in central Missouri.
The Plains: The dryness over the Midwest has also extended into much of the Plains as well during the last few months. In eastern Nebraska, D1 was introduced, while D0 was shifted to the west. Kansas had D0 conditions spread into most of the northeastern part of the state while a categorical degradation was present over much of eastern Kansas. In North Dakota, D0 was shifted further to the west to include most of the eastern part of the state.
The West: Good rains and some upper elevation snow over much of the state has allowed for reduction in D3 conditions in southern and southeastern Colorado. After a dry and very hot late summer and early autumn period, conditions in Arizona diminished and a categorical shift of the drought intensities was made, moving the intensity levels to the west and bringing D3 into much of southern Arizona.
Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: Dry conditions and lack of forage on Maui allowed for the introduction of D3 conditions this week along the southern reaches of the Island. For northern Maui, D0 was introduced to areas that were previously drought free while D1 and D2 conditions also shifted to the north. No changes were made in Alaska or Puerto Rico this week.
Looking Ahead: Over the next five days (November 2-6), it looks to be a very active weather pattern with precipitation chances over most of the United States. The greatest amounts are forecast over the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and North Carolina. Temperatures are expected to be well below normal over the western U.S., where departures are expected to be 6-9 degrees Fahrenheit below normal. Warmer than normal temperatures are forecast over the Great Lakes, where departures are 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
The CPC 6-10 day forecast (November 7-11), temperatures are expected to stay below normal over the western United States and above normal over the eastern part of the country with the best chances of above normal temperatures over the Ohio River Valley. Conditions are expected to remain dry over the southwest and Atlantic Coast, with the best chances of above normal precipitation over the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
Author: Brian Fuchs, National Drought Mitigation Center
D0 ... Abnormally Dry ... used for areas showing dryness but not yet in drought, or for areas recovering from drought.
Drought Intensity Categories
D1 ... Moderate Drought
D2 ... Severe Drought
D3 ... Extreme Drought
D4 ... Exceptional Drought
Drought or Dryness Types
S ... Short-Term, typically <6 months (e.g. agricultural, grasslands)
L ... Long-Term, typically >6 months (e.g. hydrology, ecology)