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UPDATED By WeatherBug's Cody Snell and Alexa Maines
As we enter the second half of March some portions of the U.S. are in extreme need of spring rain. Meanwhile, other spots are enjoying an active month and no drought worries.
A stagnant, soggy weather pattern will continue across the southern Plains and Deep South. A dip in the jet stream continues to force moisture into the southeastern U.S. Due to the wet pattern, significant drought improvements have occurred from central Texas and northern Louisiana to southwestern Illinois over the last few weeks. This has caused there to be very little drought concerns in the Midwest. The heaviest precipitation has missed southern Kansas, western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, so severe to exceptional drought persists.
Marginal drought improvements occurred across scattered portions of the upper Midwest and northern and central Plains, where widespread snow fell over the last few weeks. Like southern Kansas, northern Kansas missed out on snowfall, so drought managed to intensify. More active weather is on the way to keep the Midwest and northern Plains drought free.
Abnormally dry and warm weather across the Southeast allowed rainfall deficits to increase, allowing drought and dryness to spread and intensify across central and eastern Georgia and the southeastern Florida Peninsula. Further north, significant rain and snowfall fell across the Northeast, allowing remaining dryness to dissipate across northeastern Pennsylvania. The Mid-Atlantic, however, still has below average groundwater and failed to receive sufficient rainfall for drought improvement.
Despite persistent rainfall and below average temperatures across the West, no drought improvements occurred over the last week due to lingering snowfall and rainfall deficits. Drought intensified across eastern Idaho and south-central Utah. More than 45 percent of the West is now under at least moderate drought, which is about 24 percent more than three months ago.
A series of storm systems will bring rain and snow to the West, but the majority of the rainfall will avoid the drought-stricken Southwest and Mountain West. No rain is on the way anytime soon to the exceptional drought regions of northern Texas and Oklahoma, therefore expect the drought to remain. The Mid-Atlantic, Southeast and Deep South will see multiple storm systems bring rain and snow, hopefully eliminating the drought.