National Conditions: April 12, 2023 - April 18, 2023

This week, drought expanded in the Mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast. On the Plains, drought worsened in Oklahoma and northern Texas, with some improvements in Kansas and southern Texas. Meanwhile, drought continues to shrink in the West but is still present to some degree in every western state. Utah saw improvements this week, while Colorado saw degradations.

As of April 18, 2023, 21.61% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 25.84% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This Week's Drought Summary...

While most of the country received light precipitation at best last week, large totals fell on a few areas. Over 1.5 inches fell on the south half of Mississippi and the central Gulf Coast Region from Louisiana through the Florida Panhandle, with totals of 4 to 6 inches dousing parts of southeast Mississippi, southern Alabama, and coastal Louisiana. Totals also exceeded 1.5 inches in parts of the central and southern Florida Peninsula, with amounts reaching 6 inches in parts of the southern Peninsula and along the eastern coastline. A few swaths in the Upper Midwest recorded 1.5 to 3.0 inches, specifically from central to northeastern Minnesota, across much of Wisconsin and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and from northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska into southwest Iowa. Beneficial moderate to heavy precipitation also fell on parts of the Northern Rockies, northern Intermountain West, and Pacific Northwest. Most of the Nation west of the Appalachians, however, saw light precipitation at best. Precipitation was a little more widespread over the Appalachians and along the Eastern Seaboard, but most areas received subnormal amounts with only isolated patches reporting moderate to heavy precipitation.

On the whole, some areas of dryness and drought in the Southeast, the Upper Midwest, the northern Rockies, and the Pacific Northwest felt improvement over the course of the week. In addition, rapid snowmelt quickly recharged soil moisture and boosted streamflows from the Dakotas to the western Great Lakes Region, prompting improvement in some areas. But most locations experiencing abnormal dryness or drought saw conditions persist or intensify, with deterioration to D3 or D4 (Extreme to Exceptional Drought) noted in some areas across the western Florida Peninsula and the southern half of the Great Plains.

Looking Ahead...

During the next five days (April 19-24, 2023) moderate to heavy precipitation (over an inch) is expected in the Pacific Northwest, higher elevations in the central and northern Rockies, much of the eastern Great Plains, most of the Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes Region, the Appalachians, the Carolinas, the Middle Atlantic Region, and the Northeast. Totals of 1.5 to 3.0 inches is forecast for a broad area from the Mississippi/Ohio Rivers’ Confluence Region southward across the west side of the lower Mississippi Valley and the eastern half of Texas. In contrast, most areas from the west side of the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast (outside the higher elevations and areas west of the Cascades) are expecting light precipitation at best. Light amounts of precipitation (less than one-quarter inch) are also expected in Florida, Georgia, and some adjacent locales.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 day outlook (valid April 25-29) shows above-normal precipitation favored over the vast majority of the central and eastern contiguous states and Alaska. Odds are only marginally enhanced in most areas, but odds exceed 50 percent that amounts will be in the wettest one-third of the historical distribution in part of the South Atlantic States and in southeastern Alaska. Subnormal precipitation is more favored in most areas from the Rockies to the Pacific Ocean, with much of the northern Great Basin having at least a 50 percent chance for precipitation totals in the lowest one-third of the historical distribution. Enhanced chances for subnormal temperatures cover a large area from the Plains to the Middle Atlantic Region, especially across the northern Plains, upper Midwest, and upper Mississippi Valley. Colder than normal temperatures are also expected across most of Alaska outside southeastern areas. Warmer than normal weather is forecast for the southern Rockies, the Intermountain West, and West Coast, as well as across northern New England and locations across and near the Florida Peninsula.