Dry conditions intensified during March across the central and southern Plains and the Southwest, contributing to a rash of wildfires and combining with large temperature oscillations to stress crops and native vegetation. In contrast, ongoing Northwestern wetness led to further reductions in drought coverage and intensity as far south as northern California. However, a sharp southern boundary of recovery was evident, with southern California facing an almost certain fifth year of drought. In northern California, though, much-improved surface water supplies included a near-normal snowpack, abundant streamflow, and substantial reservoir recharge.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor BRAD RIPPEY is the U.S. Editor of the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin of the Joint Agriculture NOAA Weather Facility.
Weatherwise Contributing Editor JEFFREY B. HALVERSON is Professor of Geography at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.