Tools used in the U.S. Drought Outlook (USDO) included the official CPC temperature and precipitation outlooks
for June 2012 and the long lead forecast for June through August 2012,
various medium- and short-range forecasts and models such as the 6-10 day and
8-14 day forecasts, the most recent 180 and 384-hour GFS total precipitation amounts, the soil moisture tools
based on the Constructed Analog on Soil (CAS) moisture, the Climate Forecast System (CFS, versions 1 and 2), the
four-month Palmer drought termination and amelioration probabilities, climatology, and initial conditions.
An upper level disturbance brought locally heavy rainfall to southeastern Florida, with 30-day precipitation
totals running 1.5 to 3 inches above normal easing drought conditions. Seabreeze generated thunderstorm
activity is ongoing across the Florida peninsula, indicating a timely start to the summer rainy season. An
additional 1-2 inches are forecast by HPC across central and southern Florida during the upcoming 5-day
period, while CPC forecasts covering the 6-10 and 8-14 day periods both indicate enhanced probabilities of
above-average rainfall. During the summer months, seabreeze driven convection provides a significant
percentage of annual rainfall to Florida and the coastal areas of the Southeast. CPC's monthly and
seasonal forecasts maintain equal chances for near, below or above median rainfall, so based on the wet
climatology for these areas, drought improvement is likely, especially across the Florida peninsula.
Forecast confidence for Florida and coastal areas of the Southeast is moderate to high.
Extreme to exceptional drought current extends from northern Florida through central Georgia and parts of
South Carolina and Alabama. While spotty showers and thunderstorms brought increased moisture to portions
of the interior Southeast during the previous month, particularly across South Carolina, the drought
remains firmly entrenched due to extreme long term deficits, which top 20 inches for the year in some
locations. The CPC 6-10 day outlook brings increased odds of above normal rainfall to coastal areas of the
Southeast, but for the inland drought areas, all guidance from short range through the CPC seasonal outlook
indicates equal chances for near, below, or above median precipitation. Thunderstorm activity is common
across the interior Southeast during the summer, but the climatological percent of annual rainfall received
is not particularly high when compared to other seasons. Additionally, due to the long standing
precipitation deficits in the drought areas, soil moisture content is extremely low, which can promote
abnormal heat and suppress convection. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are above average,
however, which promotes enhanced evaporation, and may provide a mitigating source of moisture during
periods of southerly flow. Based on these conflicting factors, this forecast was produced under the
assumption of near normal summer rainfall, which would likely not be sufficient to ameliorate the long term
drought conditions. Therefore, persistence is indicated across the Southeastern Piedmont. Tropical
cyclone activity in the Southeast may bring improvement which is not indicated in this forecast.
Forecast confidence for the remainder of the Southeast is low to moderate.
Several storm systems traversed the eastern seaboard during the previous month, bringing periods of
beneficial rainfall to drought areas which previously had been developing across the mid-Atlantic states
and the Northeast. Other than a small area in western Connecticut, 30 day precipitation totals are
generally above average in this region, especially across New England, while deficits of 4-8 inches still
exist over 90 days from eastern Maryland through southern New England. No additional significant rainfall
is expected during the upcoming two weeks, which may erode some of the recent moisture gains. The CPC June
monthly and June-August seasonal outlooks both call for equal chances of near, below, or above median
rainfall. Scattered thunderstorm activity is expected across the Northeast during the summer, though
periods of heat and dryness are also common. Based on the relatively shallow nature of the drought in the
Northeast, some improvement is forecast based on climatology.
Forecast confidence for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states is moderate.
Abnormal dryness and drought have expanded rapidly across the mid-Mississippi Valley, particularly in
western Kentucky, southern Illinois, far southeastern Missouri, and northeastern Arkansas. 30 day deficits
greater than 3 inches are common in this area, and 90 day deficits are 4 to 8 inches or greater. No
significant precipitation is expected in the short term, and the CPC 8-14 day outlook predicts enhanced
chances of below average rainfall, which may promote continued rapid deterioration. CPC's monthly and
seasonal outlooks both indicate equal chances of near, below, or above median rainfall and enhanced
probabilities of above-median temperatures. The percent of annual rainfall received during the summer
months in the lower and middle Mississippi Valley are slightly below the median, indicating that the season
is slightly drier when compared to other 3-month periods. Based on the likelihood of short term drought
expansion, persistence is indicated in the existing drought areas. Due to the potential for small scale
heavy rain events such as tropical cyclones, this forecast does not include additional development areas.
Forecast confidence for the mid-Mississippi Valley is moderate.
Across the southern Plains, copious rainfall fell across southern and western Texas, bringing significant
drought relief, with widespread one category reductions in the U.S. Drought Monitor this week. In contrast,
increasing rainfall deficits and hot weather promoted rapidly developing dryness across northeastern Texas
and eastern Oklahoma. CPC's 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks both favor below average rainfall, which occurring
during May, a relatively wet time of year, may promote drought development and expansion. CPC's monthly
and seasonal outlooks maintain equal chances for near, below, or above median precipitation. Based on the
short term dryness and upcoming dry season, persistence is expected across the existing drought areas of
the southern Plains.
Forecast confidence for the southern Plains is moderate to high.
Widespread heavy rainfall fell across the upper Midwest during the previous month, with portions of southern
Minnesota receiving 3-5 inch rainfall surpluses. The increased moisture has reduced drought across the
northern Plains and upper Midwest. Additional rainfall is expected based on HPC's 5-day accumulated
precipitation outlook, and a continued wet pattern through week 2 is reflected in CPC's 6-10 and 8-14 day
outlooks. Further drought reduction is likely based on these short term forecasts, and the summer months
tend to be wet in the summer. Therefore, improvement is indicated in this outlook for the remaining
drought areas of the upper Midwest, except across areas near Lake Superior, which may miss out on the short
Forecast confidence for the upper Midwest is moderate to high.
Severe to extreme drought is ongoing across southern Arizona and New Mexico. The Southwestern Monsoon
onset typically occurs in July, with peak rainfall occurring during August. Monsoon thunderstorms have the
potential to bring local drought relief, but there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the monsoon's intensity
and extent forecast. A lack of snow cover in the southern Rockies may promote an early development of the
Southwestern heat low, which could bring monsoon rains as early as June, but some forecast tools indicate a
below average monsoon signal, particularly in eastern locations. Even given an average monsoon, annual
rainfall deficits are large across southern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle. Therefore, some improvement
is forecast across the monsoon region of the Southwest, with a small area of improvement in southeastern
Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.
Forecast confidence for the monsoon regions of the Southwest is low.
Widespread moderate to severe drought covers much of the remainder of the Southwestern U.S., and a small
area of moderate drought has developed in central Washington. While the Southwestern Monsoon can bring
moisture throughout the Four Corners States, the summer is climatologically dry across the Great Basin,
California, and the Northwest. The CPC 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks both favor abnormal dryness across the
Southwest, while the monthly and seasonal outlooks indicate enhanced odds for below median precipitation in
the Northwest. Based on these forecasts, persistence is expected across the drought areas of the western
U.S. Redevelopment of drought is possible in southwestern CO and southwestern UT.
Forecast confidence for the remainder of the West is high.
The summer months are climatologically dry in Hawaii. Therefore, little improvement in existing drought
areas is expected through August.
Forecast confidence for Hawaii is high.