National Current Conditions: December 27, 2023 - January 2, 2024

Welcome to 2024 with paltry snowpack in the West and drenching rains in the East. In between, drought and dryness worsened the South, southern Midwest, and interior Southeast. However, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Illinois saw improvements this past week.

As of January 2, 2024, 27.59% of the U.S. and Puerto Rico and 32.98% of the lower 48 states are in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

This Week's Drought Summary…

A large storm system brought rain and snow to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts along with rain and snow in the eastern High Plains and Midwest. The Northeast remained largely unchanged from last week, with minor improvements in western New York, Pennsylvania and central Maryland where precipitation was 150% to 300% of normal. Further south along the Mid-Atlantic, 150% to 300% of normal precipitation fell, bringing improvements in Virgina, North Carolina and South Carolina. The southern part of the Southeast did not benefit from any of the precipitation that fell elsewhere along the Atlantic coast, bringing further degradations to an already very dry part of the country. The South remained the same as last week, with small areas of deterioration from northeast Texas into southwestern Arkansas, and north and central Louisiana.

A small part of southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi saw minor improvements. The High Plains benefited from a rain and snow weather system that moved through the area before the new year. Northeastern Colorado into eastern Nebraska had some improvement. Northern Colorado and Wyoming experienced deterioration without the benefit of the precipitation that fell further east and low snow water equivalent (SWE). The north-central Midwest had some improvements from the same storm that benefited the High Plains. Central, eastern and southern Midwest largely missed precipitation, causing deterioration in eastern Ohio, southern Indiana and Illinois, and eastern and northern Kentucky where groundwater and streamflow remain low. The West saw few improvements, except for New Mexico. Lack of precipitation and low SWE in higher elevations have left areas of Montana and Arizona worse off than last week.

Looking Ahead...

During the next five days (Jan. 2-7, 2024), more heavy precipitation is expected for the central and northern Pacific coast, with some areas of higher elevation also seeing some moisture. The Gulf Coast and southern Atlantic regions are expected to see heavy precipitation. This centers around southern Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The 6-10 day outlook (valid Jan. 3-9, 2024) favors above-normal precipitation for most of the country, with high probabilities found in the intermountain West, east of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, Alaska and Hawaii. Only southern Texas is expected to have below-normal precipitation. There is an increased probability of below-normal temperatures west of the Rockies, particularly in the southwest. Following the precipitation trend, areas of probable heavy precipitation in the east also have the probability of being warmer than normal. The Northeast has the largest probability of having above-normal temperatures.