With a strong winter storm barreling across the Nation's midsection and expected to extend into the East Coast by the weekend, areas continuing to suffer from the drought are hoping it can provide a bit of relief.
Though the storm can offer hope for precipitation, Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center and the U.S. Drought Monitor says dry patterns have so far dominated in the Plains states within the past two weeks, leaving drought conditions there unchanged.
In Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, Colorado and Wyoming, 29% of the area is in exceptional (D4) drought. Nearly 95% of the area is in some form of drought, from abnormally dry (D0) to exceptional.
Further south, areas of Texas experienced more favorable weather patterns, pushing abnormally dry conditions further west. The Texas panhandle also received some snow, while dryness continued in the Oklahoma panhandle, expanding D2 and D3 conditions.
Remnants of the winter storm moving across Kansas Thursday are expected to bring moisture into Arkansas and some areas of the Corn Belt, but in the latest drought monitor Fuchs says pond and lake levels in the Midwest have been slow to recharge, and soil moisture even at the deepest depth is dry.
In eastern Missouri, Fuchs notes, D2 was improved but D1 was expanded to the east.
U.S. coasts were mostly dry. A new area of drought was introduced in the West and in the East and Mid-Atlantic states some very light precipitation was present but no changes were observed. The most active area for precipitation, however, was over Georgia. Nearly 2 inches fell in southern Georgia while some portions of the state received about 3.5 inches.
The National Weather Service predicts a cooler pattern across the U.S. next week, and the east coast and southeast are expected to experience above normal chances for significant rainfall.