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 HOME > Expert Assessments > Drought Information > Monthly Drought Outlook
United States Monthly Drought Outlook Graphic - click on image to enlarge
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Latest Monthly Assessment - During the past 14 days (since the SDO release on Oct. 16), above-normal precipitation in the lower 48 States was limited to the Northwest, New England, upper Great Lakes, and upper Rio Grande Valley. The remainder of the Nation observed subnormal precipitation and above normal temperatures, with only parts of the Southeast experiencing slightly below normal readings. Moderate to heavy rains fell on most of Hawaii from Tropical Storm Ana which passed to the west of the islands. Western Puerto Rico measured surplus rains, but eastern sections recorded subnormal amounts. ENSO neutral conditions remained in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, but an El Niño watch continued as El Niño is favored to begin in the next 1 to 2 months and last into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2015.

Precipitation normally peaks in the Pacific Northwest during the late fall and winter months, while California's main wet season usually occurs from the late fall into the early spring, with December-February most critical for receiving the bulk of their annual precipitation. In contrast, the Southwest, Plains, and Southeast are typically dry during November, but with lower temperatures and little to no evapotranspiration, this time of the year is ideal for soil moisture recharge before the ground freezes in the north. During early November, a storm system laden with tropical Pacific moisture should drop ample rains on most of the south-central Plains before tracking into the Ohio Valley and Northeast, while yet another system brings precipitation to the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. Meanwhile, a possible Nor'easter will remain just off the Atlantic Coast, although it may brush coastal New England with rain. This precipitation in the Northwest, south-central Plains, and New England should be enough for some improvement, with the western edge of improvement in Texas and Oklahoma highly dependent on storm totals and November normals (that rapidly decrease from east to west). By mid-month, the odds favor above-median precipitation across the northern third of the U.S. and in Florida, with subnormal precipitation in California and the Southwest. Temperatures are likely to be above-normal in the western and northern U.S. Although the updated November precipitation outlook favors above-median amounts in Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas, November normal are quite low and much of the remaining drought is long-term (hydrological)- requiring large amounts of precipitation - which is not likely during November, hence persistence was shown. In California and the Great Basin, persistence is expected with the normal wet season still about a month away, and dry and warm conditions forecast during the first half of November. In the Southeast, the forecasts over various time frames showed uncertainty as to possible wetness (improvement) or dryness (development), hence persistence was depicted.

In Hawaii, widespread moderate to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ana provided some drought relief, but expected drier conditions and the onset of the normal dry season should keep existing D1 areas as is. In Puerto Rico, the late summer and fall months are typically wet, and although October was dry in eastern sections, November outlooks tilt toward near-normal rainfall, not enough to erase D1 but enough to prevent deterioration, hence status-quo conditions.

Forecaster: D. Miskus and A. Allgood

Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: November 30, 2014 at 3:00 PM EDT

Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion

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Page last modified: October 31, 2014
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