The week featured a series of low-pressure systems moving along a northern storm track. These storm systems brought significant rains to many portions of the Northwest, Great Plains, Ohio Valley, and Central Appalachians. Additionally, soaking rains fell across south Florida. Dry conditions persisted over many of the areas already experiencing drought conditions, especially across the Intermountain West, Upper Mid-West and Southeast, with the exception of South Florida.
The Northeast and mid-Atlantic: At the end of last week, a storm system moved to the northeast from the Mid-Atlantic. Much of the precipitation with this system was forced out of the clouds over the Central Appalachians before the storm could again tap moisture over the Atlantic, so the major impacts were across West Virginia and Maine. The result was the removal of the area of abnormally dry (D0) conditions across northern Maine and a slight trimming of the Severe Drought (D2) across the Delmarva Peninsula. No other changes were made across this region as the light precipitation did little to ease the drought.
The Southeast: As the storm systems passed to the north, some convective rains (0.5 inch – 2.3 inches) moved across the Carolinas, with heavier amounts (1.0 – 2.6 inches) over the western portions of North Carolina and extreme eastern Tennessee. The response to the precipitation in the hydrologic system over western North Carolina prompted the removal of a small area of D0 across the Catawba and Upper Yadkin river basins. Continued dryness prompted discussion of the expansion of Severe Drought conditions across the Broad River basin, but local hydrological conditions (reservoir storage levels) were not being impacted, so no changes were made across that region. The generally dry conditions over the past 30 days (percent of normal precipitation ranged from 25-50 percent of normal across this region) supported the expansion of D1 conditions across much of the southern Coastal Plain and central portions of the Piedmont.
Continued dry conditions across Georgia, Alabama, and North Florida prompted the expansion of drought conditions across those three areas. Extreme Drought (D3) conditions were expanded to cover the areas where deficits are nearing record lows for yearly totals (Tallahassee). Areas of southern Alabama remained dry last week, with 60-day rainfall totals near 50 percent of normal and USGS streamflows indicating severe hydrologic drought. Farther north, the latest USDA Crop Progress and Condition report noted several impacts in Jackson County, where lack of rainfall has essentially halted planting, along with adverse impacts to crop and pasture health. Early hay yield reports are below half of normal there as well. Winter wheat harvesting however, in the central portion of the state is apparently going well and that was noted, so there are some advantages to the recent dryness.