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Winter Storms Don't Quench Long-Term Drought

U.S. Drought Monitor records another week with only minor changes

Published on: Dec 27, 2012

Though several storms rolled through a significant portion of the lower 48 at the end of last week and into this week, the precipitation wasn't enough in many places to support changes in the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.

Richard Heim of the National Climactic Data Center says there were widespread areas of an inch or more of precipitation, and some areas with more than two inches of precipitation, but those totally generally didn't ease long-term deficits.

The Plains, still on edge about winter wheat quality, saw widespread snow cover this week, equating to less than an inch of precipitation. In Kansas and Missouri, drought areas expanded while drought near Iowa receded. Nebraska remained unchanged. Latest USDA figures list wheat condition at 26% poor to very poor.

U.S. Drought Monitor records another week with only minor changes
U.S. Drought Monitor records another week with only minor changes

Texas and Oklahoma did not see the precipitation that northern Plains states received. Extreme to exceptional drought expanded in deep Texas.

Midwestern states such as Illinois and Wisconsin received considerable rainfall, which was welcome. The drought monitor, however, did not record enough precipitation to warrant change in many Midwestern states.

Few changes were also made to the West, where small amounts of precipitation fell over Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.

The Northeast received enough rain to pull back D0 conditions in New York. The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic saw considerable rainfall – two inches in some areas– pulling back D2 and D3 areas in Georgia.

Looking ahead, Heim estimates above normal precipitation from the Upper Midwest to New England. The West will likely see below-normal precipitation.

Winter Storms Don't Quench Long-Term Drought