Latest Monthly Assessment -
During the past 30-days, western Washington, far southern portions of Arizona, parts of the Rockies, northern Plains, Missouri, northern New York and New England, and parts of the Southeast have experienced at least a one-category improvement in drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Areas of drought deterioration include northern and central California, and parts of Nevada, Washington, Wyoming, Oklahoma/Arkansas, and Florida.
The Monthly Drought Outlook (MDO) valid for December 2018 is based on 7-day precipitation forecasts, extended range (6-10/8-14 day) precipitation and temperature outlooks, the CPC updated December precipitation and temperature outlooks, dynamical model guidance, climatology, and initial conditions. Recent rainfall and soil moisture forecasts from the GFS model were also considered.
An active southern jet stream and associated storm track is expected to result in widespread areas of drought improvement and/or removal from California east-southeastward across the Southwest, southern Rockies and the Southeast. For the southern Plains, the situation is less clear, since most precipitation outlooks out to one month in advance do not predict high enough precipitation amounts to justify drought improvement or removal. Accordingly, drought persistence is considered to be the best bet for this region. For remaining drought areas, such as the Pacific Northwest, northern half of the Intermountain region, portions of the Rockies, and the Dakotas, drought persistence is favored.
Long-term hydrologic drought is expected to persist across the southern portion of the Alaska Panhandle, despite short-term storm activity during the month of December. The Hawaiian Islands and Puerto Rico are forecast to remain drought-free through the end of December.
Forecaster: Anthony Artusa
Next Monthly Outlook issued: December 31, 2018 at 3 PM EST
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion