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This U.S. Drought Monitor for Nov. 5 released Nov. 7 week saw continued improvements in drought conditions as a large-scale, low-pressure system last week delivered moderate-to-heavy precipitation accumulations ranging from 2 to 7 inches leading to widespread improvements across portions of the South, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the lower Midwest. For October, these regions saw well-above-normal precipitation that has helped alleviate drought conditions, especially in the Southeast. Out West, generally dry conditions prevailed with the exception of some mountain snow showers in the central and northern Rockies of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado. In California, fire-weather conditions improved allowing firefighters in southern and northern California to help contain several large wildfires. According to the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), the contiguous U.S. experienced its 21st coolest and 8th wettest October on record.

High Plains

On this week’s map, no changes were made across the region. For the week, the entire region was relatively dry with below-normal temperatures. Average temperatures ranged from 2-to-20 degrees below normal with the greatest negative anomalies observed in north-central and eastern Wyoming as well as eastern Colorado. According to NOAA NCEI, the Northern Rockies and Plains Climate Region experienced its 4th coolest and 26th wettest October on record. Additionally, the region had its wettest 3-month (Aug-Oct 2019), 9-month (Feb-Oct 2019), and 12-month (Nov 2018-Oct-2019) periods on record.

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Midwest

On this week’s map, one-category improvements were made across portions of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky in response to another round of rainfall this week that helped boost soil moisture and streamflow levels as well as erase some of the longer-term (60–90 day) precipitation deficits. For October, the Ohio Valley Climate Region experienced its 6th wettest on record while the Upper Midwest Climate Region experienced its 3rd wettest October on record. For temperature, the Ohio Valley Climate Region had its 41st warmest (top 1/3) October while, in contrast, the Upper Midwest experienced its 33rd coolest (bottom 1/3). In terms of snowpack, the NWS National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) is reporting that the Northern Great Lakes Region currently has snow covering 22% of the region. For the week, average temperatures were mainly near normal to slightly above normal across much of Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio, while further west in the region temperatures were 4-to-8 degrees below normal.

South

One this week’s map, recent rainfall across eastern portions of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee led to continued widespread improvement in conditions. Rainfall accumulations across the region ranged from 1 to 8 inches with the heaviest accumulations observed in Mississippi. This week’s precipitation improved soil moisture and streamflows leading to one-category improvements in areas of Severe Drought (D2), Moderate Drought (D1), and Abnormally Dry (D0). In portions of southern, central, and western Texas, dry conditions prevailed leading to some minor expansion of drought. As a region, the South experienced its 23rd wettest October on record, while at a state level Mississippi experienced its wettest October on record. For the week, average temperatures were below normal across the entire region with the greatest negative anomalies observed across the northern half of Texas and western Oklahoma where temperatures were 10-to-20 degrees below normal. As a region, the South Climate Region had its 36th coolest on record for October.

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