Latest Monthly Assessment -
Generally wet weather in May kept the drought coverage steadily declining to less than 4 percent of the United States at the time of this release. Significant drought coverage is limited to the western half of the Big Island in Hawaii, parts of the Southwest, the central Dakotas, portions of Georgia, and the Florida Peninsula. A few isolated areas also existed in the upper Southeast and across Texas. Long-term deficits remain in parts of southern New England and the lower Northeast, but near- to above-normal precipitation in May has kept any drought development at bay. Overall, more improvement than deterioration is expected in June.
Currently, the primary area of concern is in the Dakotas. Moderate drought covers central parts of the region, and with dry weather expected at least through the first half of the month, drought is expected to expand to cover a larger part of the two states by the end of June. Some indicators point towards cooler and possibly wetter weather in the region for the last half of the month, but at this point it seems only a possibility; however, it does reduce our forecast confidence somewhat.
Moderate to heavy rains are expected in the Southeast in the short-term, and across Florida through the middle of the month at least. Odds favor above-normal precipitation for June as a whole in the interior Southeast, and farther south, June is a climatologically wet time of the year from southern Georgia southward through the Florida Peninsula. All these factors lead to a forecast of drought improvement or removal across the region.
Moderate to heavy precipitation is expected across all but Deep South Texas through mid-June, and there are enhanced chances that June as a whole will be wetter than normal in northeastern Texas. This is neither a wet nor dry time of year for most of this region, except again in Deep South Texas, where the month of June is drier than most. Drought is expected to be removed from most of Texas by the end of the month, except in most of Deep South Texas where persistence is expected.
In the Southwest, June is very dry climatologically. Less than 5 percent of the annual precipitation total typically falls during June in southwestern New Mexico, declining westward to less than 1 percent in southern California. Drought persistence is expected, though chances for significant expansion are small.
For western parts of the Big Island, with no tilt of rainfall odds for June, drought is predicted to persist as the climatological dry season continues, though climatologically wetter conditions occur toward the end of the month. Confidence in persistence is lower across interior southeastern sections of the drought area, where rainfall is climatologically higher than in the rest of the region. No drought is expected to develop in either Alaska or Puerto Rico.
Forecaster: Rich Tinker
Next Monthly Outlook issued: June 30, 2017 at 3pm EDT
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion