Latest Monthly Assessment -
Drought is expected to persist through May where it exists from the Rockies westward to the Pacific Ocean, with some areas of intensification possible. Confidence is particularly high in California and, to a lesser extent, other parts of the Southwest and West Coast, where mid- to late spring is one of the drier times of the year. In contrast, drought removal is likely in south Florida, where rainfall is increasing climatologically, and forecasts on most time scales favor wetter than normal weather. In between these two regions, the outlook for the Plains states and western Great Lakes region is less certain. May is one of the wetter months in most of the region, generally bringing 10 to 20 percent of annual rainfall. In addition, outlooks for at least the first half of the month lean wet throughout the region. But one month of above-normal precipitation during one of the wetter times of year is not necessarily enough to bring substantial drought relief. Improvement and removal seem most likely in the southern Plains, where there has been a wet pattern recently, forecasts for early May have consistently indicated moderate to heavy rain, and the May Monthly Outlook calls for enchanced chances of above-normal rainfall. Farther north, improvement seems less likely, with less consistent indications of heavy precipitation through mid-May across the north-central Great Plains. Since the revised monthly outlook indicates a tilt in the odds towards below-median precipitaiton across the Upper Mississippi Valley, persistence is favored for this region. Persistence is most likely for In Hawaii, the odds somewhat favor wetter than normal, but this is a relatively dry time of year, so no change in drought conditions is anticipated. It should be noted that abnormally dry conditions cover parts of the Northeast, and should May start out drier than normal, some areas of drought could develop. However, odds do not favor significantly less precipitation than normal, and no development is forecast at this time. In Puerto Rico, current D0 areas in eastern sections, along with recent dry and hot weather and odds tilted toward subnormal May rainfall (delayed start to summer rains), point toward development of drought (D1).
Forecaster: R. Tinker
Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: May 31, 2015 at 3:00 PM EDT
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion