Storms passing through the contiguous U.S. this week dropped some precipitation on most states, Anthony Artusa of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports in this week's Drought Monitor, but many of the areas struggling most with drought missed out.
Higher elevations across the West received up to 3 inches of liquid equivalent, Artusa says, but lower elevations, such as the drought-laden coastal California received fewer than 0.5 inches.
Moderate to heavy precipitation, however, was observed across portions of the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, southern New England, mid-Atlantic and southern Atlantic Coast states, Gulf Coast region, Tennessee Valley, Lower Mississippi Valley, and the ArkLaTex region.
In general, temperatures during the past week were primarily below-normal east of the Continental Divide and above-normal west of the Divide, Artusa adds.
Abnormal dryness expanded across nearly all Louisiana, with the exception of the far southeast. An area of severe drought was introduced over the southwest part of the state.
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In northwestern and north-central Missouri, significant reductions in public water supply have been noted. Many counties in the northwestern portion of the state were degraded from D0 to D1.
Though fewer than 2 inches of precipitation fell over parts of western, far southern, eastern, and northern Texas, many areas received little to no precipitation during the past week. The result was a mottled change map that showed slivers of improvement mainly in the northwestern portion of the state and scattered degradation in the central and south-central portion.
In far western Oklahoma, extreme drought was expanded northward. This was Oklahoma's the 8th driest January on record, Artusa said.
In Kansas, the state-wide average precipitation for January was only 34% of normal. Reassessment of conditions will be needed next week after this current storm system passes through the area, Artusa noted. In south-central Nebraska, a small drought-free area was downgraded to abnormal dryness in response to continuing dryness.