National Current Conditions: January 10, 2024 - January 16, 2024

A wet (and frigid) week led to big improvements in almost every state east of the Plains. The West saw a mixture of improvements and degradations—the region is finally seeing good snow but was extremely dry prior.

As of January 16, 2024, 24.13% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 28.80% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This Week's Drought Summary…

It was another stormy week across much of the eastern lower 48 states leading to widespread drought improvements from the Mississippi River Valley eastward to the Appalachians. A powerful storm system early in the week (January 9-10) brought heavy rainfall to parts of the eastern U.S., with most locations from Georgia to New England picking up more than 2 inches of precipitation, leading to flooding for several locations. In some locations across the Mid-Atlantic and interior Northeast, flooding was exacerbated by melting snow left over from a winter storm hitting the region the previous weekend (January 6-7). Behind the powerful storm system early this week, cold air plunged southward from Canada across the northern tier states, gradually spreading southward and eastward and overtaking most of the country east of the Rockies by the end of the week (January 16).

Toward the end of the week, another storm system dropped wintry precipitation in a swath stretching from the Ozarks eastward to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Across the western lower 48 states, precipitation was above average for the week, leading to targeted improvements to drought areas across the Intermountain West, where snowpack continues to build for several locations. Unfortunately, weekly precipitation and seasonal snowpack remain below normal this week across the Southwest and northern Rockies, leading to some degradation of drought conditions. No changes are warranted in Alaska this week, as the snowpack is in good shape statewide. Hawaii received more heavy rainfall this week, predominantly from a Kona Low early on, leading to improvement. Conversely, another warm and dry week in Puerto Rico warranted another round of degradation.

Looking Ahead...

During the next five days (January 18-22), a fast moving storm system could bring some snowfall to portions of the Great Plains, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic January 18-20. Surface high pressure behind this system is expected to gradually bring more southerly flow across much of the eastern U.S. as it moves eastward, leading to a moderation of the bitterly cold temperatures east of the Rockies, and some storminess across the south-central U.S., by January 22. A series of storms is also forecast to impact the West Coast over the next five days.

The 6-10 day outlook (valid January 22-26), favors enhanced chances of above average temperatures across the entirety of the lower 48 states, with the highest chances (greater the 80%) centered over the Great Lakes. Enhanced chances of above average precipitation is also favored across much of the lower 48 states from coast to coast, with the highest chances (greater than 70%) across the south-central U.S. The exception is across the Northern Plains, where below average precipitation is favored.