National Conditions: May 3, 2023 - May 9, 2023

Hit or miss storms moved across the Plains and Midwest, leaving areas of improvement within drought-affected regions. Out West, precipitation and snowmelt reduced drought in spots.

As of May 9, 2023, 19.65% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 23.49% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This Week's Drought Summary...

A strong area of mid-level low pressure, near the West Coast, resulted in anomalously wet weather during the first week of May throughout the Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, Great Basin, and California. Scattered thunderstorms brought pockets of heavy rainfall (more than 2 inches), from May 2 to 8, to parts of Texas, central Nebraska, and the Midwest.

However, much of Kansas, Missouri, and southern Nebraska missed out on this beneficial rainfall. Following a wet end to April across the East, drier weather prevailed this past week from the Mid-Atlantic south to Florida. 7-day temperatures, ending on May 8, averaged below-normal across most of the East along with California, the Great Basin, and Desert Southwest. Weekly temperatures averaged above-normal across the Great Plains.

Looking Ahead...

During the next five days (May 11 - 15, 2023), widespread moderate to heavy rainfall (1 to 5 inches, locally more) is forecast across the Great Plains with the heaviest amounts expected to occur from southwestern Oklahoma south to the Middle Rio Grande Valley. Lighter amounts are predicted for southeastern Nebraska, northeastern Kansas, and the Middle Mississippi Valley. Rainfall amounts are expected to vary throughout the Midwest and Southeast, while the Northeast remains mostly dry. Compared to the start of May, much drier weather is forecast for the West.

The Climate Prediction Center’s 6-10 day outlook (valid May 16-20) depicts a highly amplified pattern with anomalous mid-level high pressure over the Northwest. Therefore, large probabilities for above-normal temperatures are forecast throughout the West. Associated with a wetter pattern likely for the south-central U.S. during mid-May, below-normal temperatures are favored for the Southern Great Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley. Below-normal temperatures are also favored across the Great Lakes, Eastern Corn Belt, and Northeast, while above-normal temperatures are more likely across the Southeast. Above-normal precipitation is favored across the southern tier of the U.S. with the largest probabilities forecast for the Southwest which is typically dry during this time of year. Elevated probabilities for below-normal precipitation are forecast across the Northern to Central Great Plains, Upper to Middle Mississippi Valley, and Corn Belt.