The combination of a slow-moving front and monsoon moisture will bring thunderstorms to parts of the Southwest, some with heavy rain that could lead to isolated flash flooding. Areas at risk include southern Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas.
Here is a look at some of the potential or ongoing weather hazards and headlines ahead in the days to come:
Much above-normal temperatures for parts of the Pacific Northwest and Northern Intermountain West, Sun-Wed, Aug 3-6.
Heavy rain for the coastal areas of the mid-Atlantic and Southeast into Florida, Sun-Mon, Aug 3-4.
The possibility of flash flooding in most of the Dsert Southwest.
Severe drought for parts of the Great Plains, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, and California.
Coverage reached its year-to-date peak of 40.06% on May 6, but subsequent rainfall across portions of the nation’s mid-section has slightly reduced drought’s imprint. Nevertheless, drought still covers a substantial portion of the central and southern Plains and the western U.S..
On June 3, the highest level of drought— exceptional drought—was noted in portions of California (25%), Oklahoma (21%), Texas (9%), Nevada (8%), Kansas (2%), and Colorado (2%). California also led the nation with 77% coverage of extreme to exceptional drought.
In addition, California topped the U.S. with 70% of its rangeland and pastures rated in very poor to poor condition on June 1, according to USDA. Following California were New Mexico, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nevada.
The NWS Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a risk of severe thunderstorms Tuesday for parts of the central and southern Plains, mainly across portions of northwest Texas during the mid-afternoon and early evening hours and across portions of eastern Kansas and western Missouri later into the overnight hours.
Much needed precipitation brought limited drought relief to parts of the Northwest, the Great Basin, and the northern Intermountain West, but drought continued to expand and intensify across parts of California, the desert Southwest and the southern Rockies. Outside of spotty precipitation over southern and western Texas, drought also expanded across much of the central and southern Plains, and short term drought developed along the western GulfCoast. Widespread precipitation brought drought relief to the eastern U.S. Drought persistence and expansion are anticipated for California, the Southwest, and the southern Plains due to dry initial conditions heading into the climatologically drier Spring season. CPC 1-Month and 3-Month outlooks tilt the odds towards below-median precipitation over parts of the Southwest and California as well. In contrast, short range forecasts for heavy precipitation increase prospects for additional drought relief across the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies, although anticipated warmer than normal temperatures may limit effective snow pack building for late spring water resources. Drought improvement or removal is forecast for the central Plains and the middle and upper MississippiValley, where climatological precipitation increases substantially during April and May. While locally heavy precipitation is forecast in the short term for parts of the central and western Gulf Coast, which would ease short term drought conditions, the CPC seasonal outlook indicates enhanced chances of below-median rainfall. With 90-day precipitation totals generally below 75 percent of normal, it is possible for short term drought reductions to be offset by redevelopment later in the Spring.
For Friday, no organized areas of severe thunderstorms are expected across the Nation.
This weekend, however, a slight risk of severe thunderstorms is expected on the far southeastern Plains and along the immediate Gulf Coast.
Across the Corn Belt, frigid conditions persist, with Tuesday morning’s temperatures falling below 0° in nearly all locations. A deep snow cover and snow drifts continue to complicate travel in the central and eastern Corn Belt, where current snow depths include 13 inches in Rockford, Illinois, and Indianapolis, Indiana.
On the Plains, bitterly cold weather has begun to ease, except in the eastern Dakotas. At the height of the cold wave, snow helped to insulate winter wheat in many areas, although there was a notable gap in coverage across much of Nebraska, south-central and southwestern South Dakota, and north-central Kansas. On January 6, low temperatures in those areas with little or no snow cover generally ranged from -5 to -15°.
In the South, winter agricultural areas across Deep South Texas and Florida’s peninsula escaped without a major freeze Tuesday morning, although Wind Chill Advisories have been posted. Meanwhile, Hard Freeze Warnings were in effect early Tuesday along the Gulf Coast from eastern Texas to Florida’s panhandle. In southern Louisiana, where temperatures plunged to near 20°, most of last year’s sugarcane has already been harvested.
In the West, mild, mostly dry weather prevails, despite an increase in cloudiness. A few rain and snow showers are overspreading the Pacific Northwest. In Arizona, the cotton harvest was 99% complete by January 5, ahead of the 5-year average of 95%. Meanwhile, the average water content of the high-elevation Sierra Nevada snow pack stands at 2 inches, less than 20% of the early-January normal.
Dangerously cold weather from the Plains to the East Coast will lose its punch as the week progresses.
The remainder of Monday will feature the Midwest’s harshest cold, followed on Tuesday by the East’s lowest temperatures. Tuesday, sub-zero temperatures can be expected again as far south as the Ozark Plateau, with readings below 0° also likely in the Appalachians. Frigid weather will persist through mid-week in the upper Midwest, where readings below -30° will linger through Wednesday. Rapid warming will occur during the second half of the week, with above-normal temperatures expected in the eastern half of the U.S. by week’s end. Significant precipitation will be scarce, except in the Northeast during the rest of Monday and Northwest, starting Tuesday.
Looking ahead, the 6- to 10-day outlook calls for near- to above-normal temperatures nationwide, with the greatest likelihood of warm weather in the eastern U.S. Meanwhile, above-normal precipitation from the Mississippi Valley eastward and across the nation’s northern tier will contrast with drier-than-normal weather from California to the central and southern High Plains.
Across the Corn Belt, a life-threatening cold outbreak is underway. Monday morning’s low temperatures generally ranged from -30° in the far upper Midwest to near 0° in the Ohio Valley. Gusty winds accompany the bitter cold, resulting in dangerously low wind chill temperatures. In the eastern Corn Belt, a deep snow cover is insulating winter wheat, but blowing and drifting snow is stressing livestock and hampering travel.
On the Plains, very cold weather prevails, with sub-zero temperatures noted from Kansas northward. The frigid, breezy conditions are stressing livestock and resulting in dangerously low wind chill temperatures. Snow is providing some protection for winter wheat on the northern and central Plains, although coverage is patchy. Current snow depths include 4 inches in Great Falls, Montana, and 2 inches in Wichita, Kansas.
In the South, an Arctic cold front is crossing the Atlantic Coast States, accompanied by a few rain showers. In the front’s wake, hard freeze warnings are in effect this morning from eastern Texas into the central Gulf Coast region. However, temperatures remain above freezing in Deep South Texas and across Florida’s peninsula.
In the West, mild weather in California contrasts with near- to below-normal temperatures farther inland. Dry weather prevails throughout the West, increasing concerns about summer water supplies in areas—such as California and the Great Basin—moving deeper into a third consecutive year of drought.