From October to mid-January, the first 3½ months of the water year, drought coverage in the western United States expanded from 76% to 78%, despite northwestern improvement.
According to today's Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, many areas of the country, including drought-stricken areas from central and southern California into the Southwest, received little or no precipitation for the week ending Jan. 16.
The Jan. 21 report also indicated western coverage of exceptional drought (D4) increased to 22%, up from zero as recently as Aug. 18 and 2% at the end of September.
La Niña strengthened during the first half of the 2020-21 Western winter wet season, helping to direct most storminess across the northern tier of the region.
Unfavorably dry conditions extended as far north as southern sections of Oregon and Idaho, as well as much of Wyoming.
Elsewhere, the week began with heavy snow in the South and later featured a dynamic storm system producing precipitation and high winds from the Northwest into the Midwest.
The early-week storm blanketed parts of Texas with its heaviest snow in decades but weakened while traversing the Southeast.
For the full USDA report, click here.