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Rain, Snow Stave Off Further Drought Degradation

Drought and dryness prevalence falls slightly this week

Published on: Dec 5, 2013

Strong pockets of extreme drought remain in Central and Southern California, Nevada and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, while beneficial rains fell from eastern Texas through Louisiana last week, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Areas of Abnormal Dryness were alleviated in the southern U.S. through Mississippi as a result of last week's rains. In northwest Texas, however, extreme and severe drought kept a foothold.

Despite other parts of the region receiving little precipitation, drought status in the rest of the South did not change. Cool temperatures helped mitigate impacts from the lack of precipitation.

Drought and dryness prevalence falls slightly this week, thanks to snow and rain
Drought and dryness prevalence falls slightly this week, thanks to snow and rain

Abnormal Dryness expanded in the northern Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington as well as on the Oregon Coast, the Drought Monitor report said. These areas have missed most of the recent precipitation that has fallen around the Northwest and have significant deficits for the year. The rest of the West remains unchanged this week, though an area of abnormal dryness has appeared in Washington.

In the central and northern Plains, drought levels remained status quo for the week. Moderate to cool temperatures and areas of frozen soil led to no change in the drought depiction in the region, the Drought Monitor said.

Thanksgiving travel was impacted last week as a strong storm moved into the eastern U.S., bringing snow from to the southern Appalachians up through Maine. Areas to the south and east experienced rain. Lake effect snows in western Pennsylvania and New York led to snowfalls in excess of 13 inches, the Drought Monitor estimates. Though it slowed traffic with a combination of wind, this moisture helped to alleviate dryness in the East.

Compared to last week's 56.18% of the contiguous U.S. in some form of dryness or drought, the Drought Monitor shows 55.45% this week. That's also an improvement from 76.16% one year ago. Only .39% of the contiguous U.S. is falls under the most severe form of drought, D4, as of Dec. 3.

The Dec. 5-9 period is expected to bring precipitation for the east and some areas of the West. Temps will likely be below normal in most of the country, with the exception of New England. From Dec. 10-14, above normal temps will return to the Southeast. The Southwest and Central Plains are likely to see below-normal precipitation, the Drought Monitor said.

Rain, Snow Staves Off Further Drought Degradation

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor