Latest Seasonal Assessment -
Drought coverage across the country has progressively declined over the past several months, as assessed by the Drought Monitor. At the end of November 2016, drought encompassed more than one-quarter of the nation. That number dropped below 12 percent at the end of March 2017, and to 4.2 percent in early May, the least coverage since Drought Monitor statistics were first calculated at the beginning of 2000. In the last four weeks, drought was alleviated in substantial parts of the Northeast, Middle Atlantic States, and south-central Plains. However, latent long-term moisture shortages remain across the Northeast, and drought could re-develop quickly should any substantial period of abnormal heat and dryness occur. Currently, drought covers much of Florida, Georgia, and eastern Alabama, with extreme drought affecting the central Florida Peninsula and portions of both southern and northern Georgia. Scattered areas of drought exist elsewhere across the southern tier of states from South Carolina to central Texas. Farther west, drought covers isolated spots in central Colorado and northeastern Wyoming, portions of southwestern California, a swath from southernmost California eastward into southwestern New Mexico, and western parts of the Big Island of Hawaii. In the contiguous states, drought is expected to persist or intensify in southern California and southwestern Arizona, where above-normal temperatures and seasonably dry conditions are expected. Drought persistence is also favored from west-central Georgia into central and northeastern South Carolina dur to seasonal topsoil decline, and less rainfall expected through the rest of the month than in neighboring areas. At least some improvement is expected in other drought areas. In Hawaii, drought on western parts of the Big Island should persist, except along the lower Kona Slopes in the northwesternmost reaches of the Big Island, where summer is a markedly wet time of year.
Forecaster: Rich Tinker
Next Seasonal Outlook issued: June 15, 2017 at 8:30 AM EDT
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion