Washington, DC  20018      3/6/2015
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Drought Update: Snow, Ice, Rain Wash U.S.
March 3, 2015
UPDATED By WeatherBug's Tim Barnes
A highly active week brought plenty of relief across the U.S. Rain and mountain snow fell over the Southwest early this week. Further eastward, systems bellowed throughout the week washing a wintery mix of freezing rain, sleet, snow and rain over the lower Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and the Deep South.
A mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain, and rain fell across the East, as a couple of fresh breaths of cold Arctic air dropped temperatures anywhere from 5-to-20 degrees below normal. Although heavy snow, ice and rain pelted the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic throughout the week, no changes were made to the drought status across these regions. The wintery mix even made its way across the Southeast, as cold air penetrated as far south as northern Florida. The influx of moisture helped to alleviate the abnormal and moderate drought in Alabama and Georgia. Southern Florida also received torrential downpours from thunderstorms this past week. Rainfall totals ranged anywhere from 4 to up to 11 inches and led to a slight trimming to the abnormal dryness in extreme southeastern Florida.
The Central U.S. saw an extremely cold week, with temperatures ranging from 10-to-25 degrees below normal. Moisture in the form of snow, ice, and rain helped to bring category improvements to areas of severe, moderate and abnormal drought across Kentucky, western Tennessee, and Arkansas. Heavy rainfall totaling 2-to-6 inches fell across Louisiana and Mississippi leading to a trimming of the moderate drought. Above-normal precipitation amounts over the past 2 months across the Southern Plains, along with significant improvements to the reservoir conditions in north-central Texas, have prompted improvements to the exceptional, extreme, severe and moderate drought in north-central Texas and the Texas Panhandle.
A series of storms helped to bring significant snowfall and rain to the West late last week. Snowfall totals ranged from 12-to-24 inches across the Southern Rockies, which helped to refresh snowpack levels back to normal for several drainage basins in Arizona and New Mexico. As a result, extreme drought was removed from the northern rim of the Grand Canyons and over the Four Corners along the Arizona-New Mexico border. In addition, severe drought was upgraded to moderate drought along the Arizona-Utah border. However, below-normal snowpack levels and unseasonably warmer temperatures have kept a lock on many regions across the West. These conditions have led to the expansions of moderate and severe drought in west-central and south-central Idaho.
Looking ahead into the next drought monitor period, a powerful winter storm blowing through the East has been dropping heavy snow over the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic just before the end of the workweek. Behind this system will be a quieter pattern, with much warmer temperatures. Some light snow and rain would likely be the only moisture makers this weekend. A system out of the South will take off early next week, which could wring out drought-quenching moisture across the Deep South and the Southern Atlantic. Towards the middle of the week, a Pacific storm will head toward the Northwest, which could bring a recharge of snow needed for the lacking snowpack levels across the Mountain West, along with welcome rain from the Pacific Northwest to central California. The Midwest and the northern and central Plains will unfortunately be left to a relatively dry week.
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Source: U.S. Drought Monitor
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