"Every one of these storms helps," agreed Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring branch of the National Climatic Data Center. "But we need more of them to get out [of the drought]."
It can take 6 to 20 inches of snow to equal one inch of water. So while wet snow caused Kansas City, Mo., mayor Sly James to declare a state of emergency, and schools in Texas closed for two days, it's not a complete panacea for the drought.
"It doesn't solve the drought, but it doesn't hurt it," Arndt said.
"It gives us a slightly better posture going into spring."
It will take a minimum of several months to get out of the drought conditions, Douglas said. Some areas of the Midwest are down by 10 inches of precipitation, Douglas said, but even making up half that amount would be beneficial.
The current conditions are similar to the size of of the droughts in the 1950s, Arndt said. But that mid-century drought lasted 3-5 years.
Better monitoring equipment has also helped manage the conditions better than people were able to the 1950s or the Dust Bowl era of the '30s, Arndt said.