Highlight: Updated U.S. Drought Monitor. Drier trend Southwest Great Plains.
Fig. 1: The NOAA weekly U.S. Drought Monitor is updated.
Discussion: The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor is updated (Fig. 1). Most of the East Coast drought conditions are considered “short term” due to generally wet summertime climate forecasts. The only change in the East was slightly wider aerial coverage of dryness in the Mid-Atlantic region. Drought conditions on the northwest coast of the Gulf of Mexico are also considered “short term” due to potential wetter climate forecasts during mid-to-late summer due to tropical cyclone activity. Last week the drought in the Houston area strengthened slightly.
Of course, a major concern is dryness in Texas and the Great Plains where longer term drought is present. Last week, drought intensified across the Great Plains and western Texas but was unchanged for the remainder of the Great Plains.
In the West, an immense long-term drought was essentially unchanged. A slightly drier trend was noted in southeast Idaho.
U.S. soil moisture rankings continue to identify historically dry regions across the West/Southwest U.S. and West-central and Central U.S. (Fig. 2). Historical wet conditions driven by snow melt are present in the Upper Midwest and parts of the interior Northeast U.S. Dramatic wetter changes have occurred during April across the northern Great plains to Upper Midwest and northern California where vast drier trends emerged in Nebraska/Kansas.
Fig. 2: Soil moisture ranking percentiles across the U.S. according to NOAA for April 26, 2022.