According to the November 14, 2023 U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate to exceptional drought covers 31.5% of the United States including Puerto Rico, about the same as last week. The worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) increased from 7.2% last week to 7.5%.
The atmospheric circulation over the contiguous U.S. during this U.S. Drought Monitor week (November 8–14) consisted of an upper-level ridge of high pressure east of the Rockies with a low-pressure trough over the eastern Pacific just off the west coast. Pacific weather systems moved through this long-wave trough/ridge pattern in a generally westerly flow. They brought precipitation to coastal parts of the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Great Lakes. Low-pressure centers that developed along a stalled-out cold front brought rain to areas from the southern Plains to the Southeast. But the weather pattern was mostly dry, with even the rainy areas receiving generally below-normal precipitation.
The week was wetter than normal only in the southern Plains and parts of the Southeast. Temperatures averaged warmer than normal due to the influence of the ridge, with only parts of the Southwest and Northeast near to cooler than normal for the week. The North Pacific High-Pressure system kept Hawaii drier than normal.
Alaska was mostly wetter than normal while a mixed precipitation anomaly pattern occurred over Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Beneficial rain targeted some drought areas, so drought or abnormal dryness contracted or was reduced in intensity in parts of the Pacific Northwest and southern Plains. But another dry week prompted expansion or intensification of drought and abnormal dryness in parts of the central Rockies to the central Plains, and from the Mississippi river to the East Coast. Nationally, expansion equaled contraction, so the nationwide moderate to exceptional drought area stayed the same this week.
Abnormal dryness and drought are currently affecting over 163 million people across the United States including Puerto Rico—about 52.5% of the population.
In addition to Drought.gov, you can find further information on the current drought as well as on this week’s Drought Monitor update at the National Drought Mitigation Center
The most recent U.S. Drought Outlook is available from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center and the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides information about the drought’s influence on crops and livestock.