The heavy snow that fell over the Midwest definitely caused quite a bit of travel problems, but it also brought needed moisture to an area that was in severe drought. Today’s first image depicts the water equivalent of the snow on the ground as of early this morning. It looks like there is about an inch, and possible close to 2 inches in spots, of water equivalent, over much of Kansas, and portions of Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. I have also indicated by the white-dashed line, the area that has been hardest hit by drought. While this latest snow event will not end the drought, it will tamper it down a bit.
Looking ahead through the weekend and into early next week, there will be a couple of action areas. The following image shows forecast tracks of surface low pressure. The Midwest snow event will continue into the Great Lakes Region today and tomorrow. A second track of low pressure could impact parts of the Northeast U.S. with heavy snow later this weekend into early next week.
As far as heavy rainfall, the Southeast U.S. will continue to be the hot spot into early next week. A nearly-stationary frontal boundary will serve as the focus for heavy rain for portions of this region into early next week. Right now, there is the potential for a widespread 2- to 4-inches of rainfall, with some areas receiving 5 inch or more. This rain event will continue to recharge soil moisture and raise stream flows. There is a good possibility that a scattering of communities will reach minor flood stage, with isolated moderate flooding.
I have indicated the lingering pocket of extreme drought by the white-dashed line. Due to recent rainfall, and even before this recent event, D4 drought conditions in Georgia have been reduced from 13.53 percent three months ago to zero at this time. Thus, while the overall extent of drought in Georgia has not changed too much yet, the intensity has significantly been reduced. This recent increase in rainfall is definitely extinguising the drought!
Looking ahead into next week, the active snow track could continue over the Midwest which would contribute towards further recharge of upper soil moisture. Over the Southwast U.S., after the early week heavy rain potential, the weather should quiet down for a while.
You might recall that I have been calling for an inprovement in the Southeast U.S. drought for quite some time now, with more significant improvement in February. Here is the latest Seasonal Drought Outlook. Note that the NOAA CPC is calling for “improvement” over much of the region. If the latest snow axis persists over Kansas and parts of surrounding states, there could be improvement in these areas as well.