National Current Conditions: July 12, 2023 - July 18, 2023

Areas in the Central Plains, Midwest (except MN), and East improved. Drought expanded in TX. Abnormal dryness expanded in the Southwest due to extreme heat and a relatively quiet monsoon so far. 

As of July 18, 2023, 21.60% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 25.82% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This Week's Drought Summary...

Last week featured a highly variable precipitation pattern across the contiguous states. Over 3 inches of rain fell on broad areas across the central Appalachians, central and southern Virginia, parts of the northern and central Carolinas, much of New England and the adjacent Northeast, parts of Florida, the central Gulf Coast Region, the lower and middle Mississippi Valley, the Upper Midwest, the southern Great Lakes Region, and the central Great Plains. Between 5 and 7 inches soaked some areas in the southern tier of Arkansas, areas near the central Alabama/Mississippi border, the Florida Panhandle, and southwestern Virginia.

In contrast, very little precipitation fell from the Rockies westward to the Pacific Coast,, the Dakotas, Oklahoma and western Kansas, most of Texas, central and western Louisiana, part of the Illinois Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the interior Southeast, parts of the upper Ohio Valley, most of the coastal and piedmont areas in the Carolinas, upstate New York, and the central mid-Atlantic Region. In the south-central and southwestern parts of the Lower 48, intense heat accompanied dry weather, with the week averaging 5 to 9 deg. F above normal from Texas westward through the desert Southwest and part of the southern half of the Rockies. Temperatures reached 129 deg. F near Baker, CA on July 16. Elsewhere, the Northeast, Florida, the lower Mississippi Valley, and the West Coast States were also warmer than normal.

Looking Ahead...

Over the next 5 days (July 20 – 24, 2023) moderate to heavy precipitation is expected across parts of the central and southern High Plains from central New Mexico northward into southeast Wyoming, and eastward across western Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and adjacent locales. Totals near or over 2 inches are forecast for parts of northeastern Colorado, western Kansas, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Light to locally moderate amounts are expected in higher elevations of the southern Rockies and some adjacent locations, with at least a few tenths of an inch possible over the central Rockies and part of the Great Basin. Little or no precipitation is expected elsewhere from the Plains States westward to the Pacific Coast, except in parts of extreme southeastern Texas. Most of the Lone Star State is forecast to receive little if any precipitation. Farther east, moderate to heavy rains are expected near the central Gulf Coast, southeaste4rn Georgia and the eastern Carolinas, eastern Tennessee, and parts of the northern Appalachians. Anywhere from 1.5 to locally 3.5 inches of precipitation may fall from extreme southeastern Louisiana across southern Alabama and the adjacent Florida Panhandle, The Coastal Plains in Georgia and South Carolina, northeastern North Carolina, and a few areas scattered across northern Pennsylvania, central and northeastern New York, and western New England. Light to moderate totals are expected over most of the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, the mid-Atlantic Region, the Great Lakes Region, and the Ohio Valley, and portions of Peninsular Florida. Temperatures are expected to remain considerably above normal from the Rockies to the Pacific Coast, over much of the northern and southern Plains, across Peninsular Florida, and in New England. Temperatures should average closer to normal elsewhere, with slightly cooler than normal conditions expected over and near the greater Ohio Valley and the adjacent interior Southeast.

During the ensuing 5 days (July 25 - 29), the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) favors above normal temperatures for almost all of the contiguous states and Alaska, except in the Pacific Northwest. Odds for significantly above-normal temperatures exceed 70 percent in a large area encompassing the eastern Great Basin, central and southern Rockies, and most of the Plains from central North Dakota southward into central Texas. Meanwhile, there are slightly enhanced odds for wetter-than-normal weather over the southeastern Great Lakes Region, the interior Northeast and New England, the western Great Lakes Region and upper Mississippi Valley, and western Washington. Odds slightly favor drier-than-normal weather in the northern Intermountain West, the Great Basin, much of Oregon and adjacent California, the southern High Plains, most of the central and southern Great Plains, the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, the lower Ohio Valley, the Tennessee Valley, the Southeast, and the South Atlantic Coastal Plain from northern Florida into North Carolina.