Tools used in the Drought Outlook
included the official CPC precipitation outlook for February 2010 and the long lead forecast for February - April 2010, the
four-month Palmer drought termination and amelioration probabilities, various
medium- and short-range forecasts and models such as the 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts, the
soil moisture tools based on the GFS model and the Constructed
Analogue on Soil (CAS) moisture, the Climate Forecast System (CFS) seasonal precipitation forecasts,
El Niño precipitation and temperature composites for February - April 2010, climatology, and
Moderate to severe drought
continues in northwest Wisconsin. Medium-range forecasts call for enhanced chances of above-normal
precipitation in late January and early February, with longer-range forecasts non-committal. Based on the
wetness anticipated in the medium range period, and the typical snowmelt and increased precipitation that
occurs as spring progresses, some limited improvement appears on tap for the region by the end of April.
Forecast confidence for Wisconsin is moderate.
Continued relief for the residual
long-term drought areas in parts of southern Texas appears likely through the late winter and early spring.
Short- and medium-range forecasts call for near-normal to below-normal precipitation, but the latest monthly
and seasonal forecasts continue to indicate relatively high probabilities for wetter than median conditions
during February - April. This is consistent with typical conditions for the region during El Niño.
Forecast confidence for Texas is high.
Wetter than normal conditions are
forecast on all time scales relevant to this forecast across all but the northernmost tier of the drought
covering much of California, Nevada, Arizona, and adjacent areas. A series of storms has recently brought
heavy precipitation to part of the area, and storminess should continue periodically through early February.
The 3-month outlook favors continuing above-normal precipitation for all but the northernmost tier of this
region, where improvement is forecast to be less robust.
Forecast confidence for the Southwest, Great Basin, California, and southern Oregon is high.
Ongoing drought conditions should
continue across central Washington and along the northern Idaho/Montana border, and are forecast to expand
through the area between these two regions in eastern Washington and much of the Idaho Panhandle. The
February - April period calls for enhanced odds of below-normal precipitation across the region, which is
consistent with typically-observed conditions during El Niño events. Forecasts for above-normal precipitation
during the remainder of January and early February, however, temper the confidence of this forecast.
Forecast confidence for Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana is low.
Drought recently developed in areas
along and near the Idaho/Wyoming border, extending into small parts of southwestern Montana and northern
Utah. Above-normal precipitation is favored in these regions through the remainder of January and early
February while longer-term precipitation amounts are uncertain. Some improvement is forecast based on the
short- and medium-range forecasts, but February - April precipitation will be critical in determining whether
or not mountain snowpack ends up deficient before snowmelt recharge begins in earnest, and the uncertain
forecast for this period leads to a low confidence drought forecast.
Forecast confidence for southeastern Idaho, western Wyoming, and adjacent Montana and Utah is low.
Over part of northwestern Ohio,
short-term precipitation deficits have been observed, and although near- or above-normal precipitation is
favored through early February, the February monthly and February - April seasonal forecasts both call for
enhanced chances of below-normal precipitation. These longer-term forecasts are consistent with conditions
typically observed during El Niño events in the region. Because of early-period forecasts, any drought
development in northwestern Ohio would likely take place during the last 2.5 months of this forecast period.
Forecast confidence for Ohio is low.
As is consistent with an ongoing
El Niño, Hawaii is expected to receive below-median precipitation during this period. These dry
conditions will likely exacerbate ongoing areas of severe to extreme drought over Hawaii and also provide
support for drought development over the remainder of the island chain.
Forecast confidence for Hawaii is high.