Spotty drought improvements and equally spotty degradations marked U.S. Drought Monitor changes this week, thanks to a broad mix of temperature and precipitation values across the states.
In the Midwest, 2-4 inches of precipitation fell from Iowa into Wisconsin and Michigan, warranting a full-category improvement to the drought depiction in eastern Iowa and much of southern Wisconsin. Dry conditions continue to push out of Iowa's northwest corner.
The south saw warm and dry weather, except for the 3 inches of rain that showed up this week in central Arkansas, reports this week's Drought Monitor author Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center
Northeast Texas received an inch of rain, but the temperatures were cool. Fuchs says cold air at the end of the Drought Monitor period pushed into the region with overnight lows well below freezing and snow in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.
The dryness in the Texas panhandle allowed for D4 expansion this week, while D2 expanded in Central Texas. Dryness in southern Texas also warranted the expansion and intensification of drought, with D1 and D2 expanding.
Another round of precipitation in the Big Bend of Texas allowed for D0 to improve while the extreme areas of northeast Texas also had D0 improve. Southern Oklahoma also had degradation of drought conditions, with D1 and D2 conditions expanding.
As with the Midwest and south, the temperatures this week were quite variable as very warm temperatures were followed by very cold temperatures at the end of the week, Fuchs says. Most of the region was 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week outside of the northern High Plains.