The recent spell of stormy weather has made some impact on the severe dryness in many areas of the far west over the past month and even going back to the fall season, there has been some help in the drought conditions. The graphic below shows the drought status across the United States as of Dec. 16. As you can see, severe drought continues in California and many areas of the far west and southwest. There also continues to be a pocket of severe drought in portions of the Southern Plains in Texas and portions of Oklahoma. Most of the rest of the nation is in pretty good shape in regards to drought conditions as we head into the New Year.
In order to see some of the progress over the past several months, let’s take a look at drought status reports. If go all the way back to early June of this year (see graphic below), many areas of the Southern Plains and the Desert Southwest were in more extensive drought conditions as compared to the most recent drought status from Dec. 16 displayed above.
Since early June of this year, the biggest improvement in drought conditions occurred over some areas of the Southern Plains (New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma) and portions of the Desert Southwest.
Between June and November of this year, the drought conditions worsened in California, however, the early December rains in California brought modest drought relief in central and northern California as you can see if you compare the graphic below from Nov. 4 and the first graphic from Dec. 16 of this year.
While there will be a slowdown in the frequency of storms into California during the early part of January, expect the rains to return by mid to late in the month.