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NOAA Drought Summary
This U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) week saw drought-related improvements on the map across southern portions of California and Nevada in association with the impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary, which made landfall in Southern California over the weekend and into Monday. The tropical storm, the first to make landfall in Southern California since 1939, brought record-breaking rainfall accumulations leading to widespread life-threatening flash flooding, mud and rockslides, and debris flows to parts of the region. Rainfall totals for the event ranged from 2 to 12 inches with the heaviest accumulations observed in higher elevations including the San Gabriel and San Bernardino Ranges, southern Sierra Nevada, Panamint Range in Death Valley National Park, and in the Spring Mountains near Las Vegas. In terms of the urban areas, the Los Angeles Basin received totals ranging from 2 to 5 inches, while the greater San Diego area received 1 to 3 inches and Palm Springs 2 to 4 inches. The rainfall led to removal of lingering areas of drought across the Mojave Desert and southern Nevada. In the Southwest, conditions in New Mexico saw statewide degradation on the map in response to a combination of both short- and long-term dryness across the state, including a weak monsoon season with 60-day rainfall deficits ranging from 2 to 6-inches. In the South, drought-related conditions have deteriorated rapidly during the past month across areas of Texas and Louisiana where persistent heat and rainfall shortfalls have led to drought expansion and intensification on the map this week. During the past two weeks, average maximum temperatures were 6 to 10+ degrees F above normal across Texas, southern Oklahoma, Louisiana, and southern Mississippi with reports of impacts related to human health as well as severe impacts to agriculture, vegetation health, and surface water conditions. Looking at the latest climatological data released by NOAA NCEI (through July 2023), Louisiana Climate Division 7 (Southwest Louisiana) observed its warmest May-July period on record, while Texas Climate Division 8 (Upper Coast) experienced its warmest June-July period on record. In the Midwest, continued areas of dryness led to degradations in portions of Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. In the Eastern Tier, some minor deterioration in drought-related conditions occurred in areas of the Carolinas as well as in the Panhandle of Florida.
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