The latest United States Drought Monitor has been released.
During the 7-day period (ending Tuesday morning), bitterly cold, mostly dry weather prevailed across the nation. However, light to moderate showers were observed along the central Gulf Coast, while moderate to heavy rain and mountain snow were reported in the nation’s northwestern quadrant. At the end of the period, a moderate to deep snowpack extended from the interior Northwest across the northern Plains into New England. The overall trend toward drought intensification persisted from the Four Corners to the southern Plains and south-central U.S., while modest reductions in drought intensity and coverage were made in northern Montana.
Extreme cold gripped the region, accompanied by much-needed moderate to heavy snowfall. Temperatures for the period averaged 25 to 35°F below normal from eastern Montana into the Dakotas and northern Nebraska. There were no changes made to the drought depiction in central and eastern portions of the region, while reductions in Abnormal Dryness, Moderate Drought, and Severe Drought (D0-D2) were made in northwestern Montana to account for the favorable start to the Water Year and the easing of long-term moisture deficits; 12-month precipitation climbed to near-normal levels in western Montana, but was still less than 50 percent of normal in the lingering Extreme Drought (D3) areas.
A rapidly-intensifying storm system near the Atlantic Seaboard will produce wind-driven snow from parts of the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast. Substantial snow- and wind-related impacts are expected in New England, as well as coastal cities such as Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina. In the storm’s wake, late-week temperatures will again plunge across the Midwest and Northwest. However, temperatures will rebound to above-normal levels by Sunday in all areas west of the Mississippi River. In the middle and lower Mississippi Valley and environs, some rain or freezing rain could precede the warmer weather. Elsewhere, periods of rain and snow will affect northern California and the Northwest, while dry weather prevails across the central and southern Plains. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for January 9 – 13 calls for above-normal precipitation across much of the nation, with drier-than-normal weather confined to the nation’s southern tier save for the Southwest. Colder-than-conditions will linger in the upper Midwest, while near- to-above-normal temperatures prevail elsewhere, with the greatest likelihood of abnormal warmth from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast.