National Drought Summary for March 1, 2016
In the northern Rockies, light to moderate (0.5-1.5 inches) amounts fell, but the central and southern Rockies saw little or no precipitation as temperatures averaged above normal. The Water Year To Date basin average precipitation in the Rockies was close to or above normal, with most basins between 90-110 percent. The lowest values were found in Wyoming (between 60-95 percent). Basin average Snow Water Content on March 1 in the Rockies was also close to normal in most basins, with Wyoming coming in again at the lower end at 64-99 percent. Accordingly, the western and northern D2 area was shrunk (improved), and the D1 area shifted southward away from the U.S.-Canadian border. There were some D1 and D2 increases in central Wyoming due to recent dryness, warmth, and minimal Snow Water Content. Surprisingly, percent of average reservoir storage was close to or above normal as of Feb. 29 at most locations in the northern and central Rockies. No changes were made in the central Rockies and Intermountain West.
From South Dakota into Kansas, little or no precipitation fell, except for a band of precipitation (0.2-0.5 inches) in southeastern Montana, central South Dakota, southern Minnesota, northern Iowa and southern Wisconsin. Recent surplus precipitation, however, over the past several months was enough to keep this region drought free with the exception of a few small lingering D0 areas. A watchful eye, however, will be necessary from northeastern Oklahoma northeastward into northwestern Illinois as short-term (2-months) dryness has so far been offset by very wet conditions at 3-months and longer. ❖