It might not be the best way to bust a drought but recent snowfall has helped at least put a dent in it. We have made up for a slow start to the season with nearly 90% of our snowfall this winter occurring since February 1st. 38.4% of the contiguous US is reporting snow cover with an average depth of 5.9" compared to 21.2% last year at this time with an average depth of 3.9".
The average snow to liquid ratio is about 10:1 so melting nearly 10" of snow is equivalent to nearly 1 inch of liquid. The problem is some of the snow cover will evaporate before it can melt and if the ground is frozen underneath, that water will run off into streams and rivers before being absorbed into the ground. The melting snow cover can still help and those dealing with severe drought conditions will certainly welcome it.
2013 started off wetter than average nationally. January precipitation averaged 2.36" across the US or .14" above the long term average according to NOAA. All this news means the drought is diminishing. Confirmation of that came this week when the US Drought Monitor's latest numbers were released. 53% of the contiguous US is experiencing at least a moderate drought but that is down from 62% in December of last year.
The numbers are even more dramatic hear. Back in December over 50% of Illinois was in at least a moderate drought. This week just under 17% of the state is in a moderate drought.