National drought summary for Feb. 16, 2016
Unsettled, cold weather across the eastern half of the country contrasted with mostly dry, warm weather from the Great Plains to the Pacific Coast. Rain and northern snow fell from the central Gulf Coast into New England, though the heaviest precipitation fell outside of the driest areas. Meanwhile, unseasonably warm, locally hot conditions across Texas renewed concerns over dryness and rapidly-developing drought. Likewise, warm, dry weather returned to the West’s core drought areas following recent beneficial rain and mountain snow. However, locally heavy precipitation continued in parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies.
Drier- and warmer-than-normal conditions overspread much of the West, with precipitation confined to the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. Despite the mostly favorable Water Year precipitation to date, the warmth and dryness renewed concerns of early snowmelt in the mountains; however, rain and mountain snow were returning at the end of the weekly drought assessment period (which ends Tuesday morning, 7 a.m., EST).
Midwest and The Plains
Cold, mostly dry conditions prevailed in the drought-free midwest.
On The Plains, sunny skies and above-normal temperatures prevailed across this drought-free region. However, pockets of short-term dryness are being monitored from southeastern Colorado into southern Kansas.
Spring-like warmth was observed over the northern Plains. While precipitation was observed across much of the region, amounts were insufficient to offer relief from Abnormal Dryness (D0) and Moderate Drought (D1).
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I want to address a couple of issues in this week’s editor’s note.