Washington, DC  20018      2/6/2016
 
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Drought Update: Rainy In the West
UPDATED January 9, 2016
UPDATED By WeatherBug's Meteorologist, Daniel Eiblum
Mother Nature has given California reasons for optimism, but drought conditions remain severe in much of the West.
The U.S. had a dry week with most spots seeing little to no rainfall. South Texas, the Southeast, and the Pacific coast were the exception to the rule, where moderate rainfall was observed.
Dryness prevailed over the Northern Plains and the South, but after a very wet end to 2015, drought is generally not a problem over the Great Plains and the south-central U.S.
In the Midwest, some needed rainfall meant moderate drought conditions were alleviated in southern Michigan, northern Indiana and Ohio.
Elsewhere, the Southeast recorded above-normal rainfall for the week, and with the recent wet pattern, there was only a slight expansion of the abnormally-dry conditions in east central Florida this week.
Looking at the wintry weather this season, warmer-than-normal temperatures have caused a "snow drought" in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, which has been affecting many outdoor winter activities.
In the West however, there has been good snow accumulation in the upper elevations and rain in the lower elevations of the region. For this week, improvements were made in eastern Washington and Oregon, where most spots to the east of the Cascade Mountains had a full-category reduction in drought intensity, with moderate-to-severe drought conditions generally lingering. In the Four Corners region in northwest New Mexico, abnormally dry conditions also improved here.
As for California, a good start to the current water year has brought optimism to the region, but the past 3-year deficits will make improvements to the drought develop slowly.
Over the next 5-to-7 days, the active pattern will continue along the West Coast with several storms projected to bring rainfall from southern Oregon to southern California, Arizona, and the Four Corners region. As these storms track eastward, the Midwest and East Coast will also get covered by decent rainfall. Cooler-than-normal temperatures over the western half of the country will provide a good opportunity for snow accumulation, especially at the higher altitudes.
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