National Current Conditions: August 9, 2023 - August 15, 2023

Severe (D2) to extreme (D3) drought expanded over a large area of Texas and Louisiana due to the unrelenting heat and dryness. Meanwhile, many areas in the Central Plains and Midwest saw improvements after a wet week.

As of August 15, 2023, 25.86% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 30.62% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This Week's Drought Summary...

Conditions continued from last week with the southern part of the country, where above-normal temperatures and mostly dry weather across the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, and the lower Mississippi Valley saw drought conditions continue to deteriorate. Drought intensified across Texas and the lower Mississippi Valley, particularly in eastern Texas, Louisiana and south-central Mississippi. The Monsoon remains suppressed with increasing short-term drought across Arizona, New Mexico and southwest Colorado. Frequent rounds of heavy rainfall occurred from the Northeast into the central Mississippi valley, into southern Missouri and the upper Midwest. The continuing west conditions are improving drought across parts of the Corn Belt and much of the southern and central Midwest. Farther to the north, drought continues to intensify across northern Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana and Washington. Hawai’i continued to experience dry conditions, particularly on the leeward side of the islands. Conditions that came to a peak on August 8th with deadly Lahaina Fire on Maui.

Looking Ahead...

During the next five days (Aug. 17-22, 2023), significant rainfall is expected across parts of the Southwest and California as Tropical Storm Hillary approaches the California-Mexico border. While the storm is expected to reach hurricane status, forecasts call for it to weaken before making landfall due to cooler ocean temperatures and land interactions. Rainfall totals of 2–4 inches with isolated areas over 6 inches are expected — a considerable amount of rain for the dry Southwest. Rain is also expected across the Northwest and northern Rockies. Much of the rest of the country looks to remain mostly dry, with the exception of Florida and the Gulf Coast. Meanwhile, a heat wave will build over the southern and central U.S. into the Midwest. Daytime highs are expected to be 10-20 degrees above normal in some places, equating to highs near 100 degrees in places such as the upper Midwest.

The 6-10 day outlook (valid Aug. 22-26, 2023) calls for an increased probability of above-normal temperatures throughout most of the Lower 48 states and much of Alaska. The only areas where below- or near-normal temperatures are favored include the Northeast, western Alaska and parts of the Southwest. Above-normal precipitation is favored across much of the western half of the U.S., parts of the Northeast, south Texas, South Florida and much of Alaska.