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Drought Update: Moisture Crashes East Of the Rockies

April 16, 2015

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Timothy Barnes

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A highly active weather pattern helped to bring a significant amount of moisture from the central and southern Plains to the middle and southern Atlantic Coast during the course of the week. Rainfall totaling 2-to-5 inches banded across the Mid-South and southern Ohio Valley, while totals exceeding 15 inches deluged parts of the western and central Gulf coast. The extreme rainfall even set a daily rainfall record of 7.28 inches at Mobile, Alabama`s Regional Airport on April 12! Although the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. was the main recipient of rainfall, showers also spread across the Northwest U.S.; however, the rest of the West was unfortunately left with little-to-no appreciable moisture for the week.

Milder temperatures finally scoured out the cold from the Northeast, driving temperatures back up to near-normal levels. The pleasant warm up allowed the region to enjoy a taste of spring, although it was accompanied by dry weather. Although a majority of the region was relatively dry, enough moisture did make its way into central Pennsylvania, where abnormal drought was able to be trimmed back.

Further south, the welcomed influx of rain across the Southeast resulted in improvements to the severe, moderate, and abnormal drought status covering the central Gulf Coast...and even alleviated abnormal dryness around the Atlanta area. However, Southern Florida remained well-below normal for the week, resulting in a slight expansion of the moderate drought through Miami-Dade County.

An adequate amount of rainfall was squeezed out over the Upper Midwest and the Great Plains during the week to bring about minor improvements. Moderate and abnormal dryness over western North Dakota, northern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota and eastern Wisconsin was reduced, as well as improvements in all drought categories throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and southeastern Kansas. Although much of the Central U.S. saw improvements over the week, South Dakota unfortunately missed out on most of the rainfall, leading to the expansion of moderate drought conditions further northward through the state.

Another dry week gripped the West, although heavy snowfall did manage to make its way in across the Rockies late in the period, which should result in improvements across the West next week. However, this week brought another round of worsening drought conditions, with the expansion of severe, moderate and abnormal drought conditions in and around Wyoming and southern Montana. California, which remained dry of the week, continues to have two-thirds of the state covered under extreme-to-exceptional drought.

Looking ahead into the next drought period, significant moisture will look to wash the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. over the weekend, into early next week. California and the Pacific Northwest could see some fresh moisture arrive as well; however, much of it will keep to the higher elevations of the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada. Unfortunately, the majority of California and the Southwest will remain dry throughout the entirety of next week.

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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

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