California and National Drought Summary for November 14, 2023, 10-day weather forecast, and California Drought Statistics – 95% of California is not currently experiencing drought conditions
November 16, 2023 – During the drought watch period ending November 14, precipitation was concentrated across a few geographic areas, including parts of the Northwest, South, and Great Lakes regions. Where rainfall occurred, winter grains, cover crops, pastures, and pastures generally benefited from increased topsoil moisture. This was especially true in the South, which had been experiencing “flash drought” issues, including a series of wildfires in the fall. However, rainfall coverage in the south was spotty, with many areas receiving only light showers. Elsewhere, rainfall in the northwest was heavier than in the Cascades further west, although major agricultural areas farther inland received some moisture. Following an almost nationwide cold outbreak in late October and early November, warmth has returned in much of the country, exacerbating the effects of drought in some of the drier areas.
Northeast of the country
The northeastern drought currently has a small footprint, but areas experiencing drought (D0) or moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) generally received minimal precipitation during the drought monitoring period. Some of the driest areas included parts of western New York and the eastern slopes of the central Appalachian Mountains. On November 12, the USDA rated topsoil moisture at 48% from very short to short in West Virginia, along with 57% in Delaware and 48% in Maryland.
Flash drought continued to develop and expand rapidly throughout the Southeast, impacting the emergence and establishment of fall-planted crops. Additionally, wildfires in the Southeast have been a problem in recent weeks, with dozens of large fires burning hundreds or thousands of acres of vegetation and fallen leaves. In Virginia, the Quaker Run Fire — partly burning in Shenandoah National Park — has burned nearly 4,000 acres. In southwestern North Carolina, the Collett Ridge Fire has charred more than 5,300 acres. On Nov. 12, Alabama led the nation with topsoil moisture at 89%, according to the USDA. Other Southeastern states more than half from very short to short are North Carolina (75%), Georgia (69%), South Carolina (65%), and Virginia (63%). During the week, exceptional drought (D4) expanded further into northern parts of Alabama and Georgia.
Heavy rains in parts of Texas and along the Gulf Coast contrast with mostly dry weather farther north and inland. Accordingly, improvements of one to two local categories in drought imaging were observed in west, central, east, and south Texas, while other regions saw no change or deterioration of drought in one category. In fact, the exceptional drought (D4) expanded further into the Tennessee Valley and surrounding areas. On November 12, the USDA rated topsoil moisture at 88% from very short to short in Louisiana, along with 84% in Mississippi. On the same date, rangelands were rated 71% from very poor to poor in Mississippi, along with 57% in Louisiana and 56% in Tennessee.
Heavy precipitation was limited to parts of the upper Great Lakes region, while the rest of the Midwest saw mild and mostly dry weather. These conditions were ideal for fall field work, with the US soybean harvest 95% complete by November 12. In addition, 88% of the country’s corn crop had been harvested on that date. However, soil moisture deficiency remained a concern for some fall-planted crops, including winter wheat and cover crops. On Nov. 12, topsoil moisture was rated by more than half from very short to short in Iowa (58%) and Missouri (53%), according to the USDA.
Pockets of drought were mainly concentrated in the eastern and southern parts of the region, with deteriorating conditions observed in parts of Kansas and neighboring states. According to the USDA, topsoil moisture was rated by more than half from very short to short on November 12 in Kanas (69%), Nebraska (61%), and Colorado (60%). On the same date, 17% of the U.S. winter wheat crop was classified as in very poor to poor condition, although state-level numbers were higher in Kansas (33% very poor to poor) and Nebraska (18%) .
Aside from modest improvements in drought conditions in the Northwest, there were few changes in imaging. Despite recent rainfall in the Northwest, some inland agricultural areas remain dry, with topsoil moisture (as of November 12, USDA) at 55% very short to short in Washington, along with 41% In Oregon. In addition, more than a quarter (29%) of Oregon’s winter wheat was classified as in very poor to poor condition on that date. Further south, New Mexico led the region on November 12 with 75% topsoil moisture in a very short to short period, despite erratic precipitation during the drought watch.
In Puerto Rico, locally heavy rains in some northern and eastern locations reduced any remaining drought (D0) and moderate drought (D1). After 5.20 inches of rain fell on October 27, San Juan, Puerto Rico, received at least a trace of rain on each of the first 14 days of November, for a total of 3.11 inches.
The drought situation in the U.S. Virgin Islands remained unchanged this week, with St. Thomas and St. Croix reaching D2, a severe drought, while St. John remained drought-free. Average rainfall on the islands as reported by local observers was 0.48 inches on St. Thomas, between 1.72 and 5.60 inches on St. Croix, and 1.52 to 2.81 inches on St. John.
While heavy rainfall on St. Croix appeared to encourage improvement, the well level in more than 33.5 feet of water remained very low. The well responded to recent rainfall by rising just over a foot over the past week, but it remains very low.
The Standardized Precipitation Index for St. Thomas indicated mild to moderate drought in all time periods. St. Croix was neutral on most time scales and moderately dry at 9 and 12 months. St. John’s was neutral or moderately humid over short periods of time.
A lingering patch of abnormal drought (D0) has been removed from Alaska, which received locally heavy rainfall. The snow was heaviest in parts of southern Alaska, with Anchorage receiving 37.9 inches (2.92 inches of liquid equivalent) during the first 13 days of November. Anchorage’s snowiest November occurred in 1994, with 38.8 inches.
In Hawaii, the major fall drought continued, with 94% of the state considered to be in drought for the second week in a row. In early November, periods of gusty trade winds increase the risk of wildfires. On Oahu, the Mililani Fire burned more than 1,600 acres of grass, brush and forest. Kahului, Maui, recorded winds of at least 40 mph on 7 of the first 14 days of the month, including peak winds of 48 mph on November 12. At the state’s major airport monitoring sites, rainfall from November 1 to 14 ranged from 0.02 inches (2 percent of normal) in Honolulu, Oahu, to 2.06 inches (32 percent) in Hilo, on the Big Island.
Palau received adequate rainfall of 2.29 inches in Palau IAP and 1.36 inches in Koror COOP.
All of the Mariana Islands have received less than an inch of rain, but they have gotten enough in recent weeks to be drought-free. Guam received 0.76 inches, while Rota recorded 0.74 inches. Saipan received 0.12 and 0.56 inches in Saipan ASOS and IAP metrics. These carrots need 1 inch per week to meet their minimum water needs.
The Federated States of Micronesia was mixed in terms of rainfall, but there was no drought in the territory. Fanano, Lokonoor, Pingelap, Ulithi, Wuliai and Yap each received less than 2 inches of rain, according to incoming data, but have received enough rain in recent weeks to have adequate water supplies. Chuuk and Kapingamarangi received more than 5.5 inches of rain last week, while Kosrae reported 11.20 inches.
All of the Marshall Islands received more than 3 inches of rain during the week, with Ailinglaplap reporting 12.04 inches. Majuro Reservoir held 34.884 million gallons on November 14. Weeks of improved rainfall at Wotje removed D0, leaving all locations in the Marshall Islands drought-free.
American Samoa remained drought-free. Pago Pago, Ciofaga Ridge and Toa Ridge each received less than an inch of rain, which is the amount these locations need to meet minimum water needs. Last week’s rainfall exceeded an inch, which put them in good stead.
I look forward
Mostly dry weather will prevail over the next few days across the midsection of the country, including the Plains and upper Midwest. In the south, rain will continue to shift east along and near the Gulf Coast, with rain and gusty winds possible late in the week in parts of Florida. Over the weekend, a low pressure system accelerating northward near the Atlantic Coast may bring coastal winds and rain to New England. Elsewhere, a storm system centered in western California will remain offshore for the next two days, although rain and snow will spread inland at times. Late into the weekend, some Pacific storm energy interacting with a wave of cold air from western Canada should bring increased rain and snow activity across parts of the western and central United States, although precipitation will be light in the the beginning. The NWS’s 6- to 10-day forecast for November 21-25 indicates the possibility of below-normal temperatures east of the Rocky Mountains, while warmer-than-normal weather will prevail in the west. Meanwhile, below-normal precipitation in most areas west of the Mississippi River is expected to contrast with wetter-than-normal weather in the east, as well as northern parts of the Rocky Mountains and high plains.
(tags for translation) California and National Drought Summary for November 14, 2023