Latest Seasonal Assessment -
Although the climatologic dry season is fast approaching in the West, the past 30 days continued to bring ample precipitation to much of the region. In addition, 30-day temperatures have averaged near to below normal in the Northwest and northern California, providing a steady and stable start to the spring snow melt season in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains. But with MJJ climatologically dry, any lingering areas of D0-D2 are expected to persist through the end of July (e.g. far Southwest). In the northern half of the High Plains, between one-half to two-thirds of their normal annual precipitation falls during MJJ, making the late spring and early summer a critical time for receiving precipitation across much of the middle third of the Nation. Also, over one-third of the normal annual precipitation occurs during MJJ in the upper Midwest and southern half of Florida. With recent short-term wetness and good odds for above-median precipitation in the short and long-term forecasts (out to 3-months), drought improvement or removal is favored in the High Plains and south-central Great Plains. In Florida, drought may linger through May into June, but tropical showers should greatly increase in coverage and intensity during the summer and eliminate any short-term dryness by July 31. Near to above normal precipitation this year has slowly eased drought across New England, and with the short-term forecasts pointing toward above-median precipitation (1- and 3-month precipitation LLFs were EC), additional slow improvement was expected. Similarly, short-term forecasts in the mid-Atlantic favor decent rainfall, hence the improvement. In the Southeast, however, short-term dryness across central Alabama and Georgia has recently expanded the drought (D1) here. Additionally, with long-term drought across northern sections of AL and GA and the western Carolinas and prior short-term drought across southern sections, along with mostly unfavorable short-term forecasts for decent rains (and EC for 1- and 3-month precipitation LLFs but above-normal temperature odds), drought is expected to persist or develop across most of AL, GA, SC, and western NC. In Hawaii, as the climatological dry season sets in during the summer and with no tilt in the 1- and 3-month precipitation outlooks (EC), drought areas (western Big Island and eastern Maui) are favored to persist.
Forecaster: David Miskus
Next Seasonal Outlook issued: May 18, 2017 at 8:30 AM EDT
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion