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HOME > Expert Assessments > Drought Information > Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion
Discussion for the Monthly Drought Outlook

Tools used in the U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook (MDO) include the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) temperature and precipitation outlooks for June, various short- and medium-range forecasts and models such as the 7-day quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF) totals from the Weather Prediction Center (WPC), the 6-10 day and 8-14 day CPC extended-range forecasts (ERFs), dynamical models at the monthly time scale, climatology for June, and initial conditions such as soil moisture. The U.S. Drought Monitor valid on May 28, 2024 was used for initial drought conditions.

Drought persistence is forecast throughout the Intermountain West in the Western Region. Warmer conditions are broadly favored throughout June and precipitation outlooks are favoring drier than normal conditions, particularly across portions of the Great Basin and interior portions of the northern Intermountain West. The exception is in coastal parts of the Pacific Northwest, where above normal precipitation is favored, primarily driven by heavy precipitation forecast during the first week of June. However, antecedent dryness and below normal snowpack are likely to offset these potentially heavy precipitation totals in western Washington, hence why drought persistence is forecast there. In parts of the interior Pacific Northwest, Northern Rockies, and Four Corners region, drought development is favored, where surface and subsoil moisture has slowly dried out in recent weeks and, for the interior northern Intermountain West, snowpack is running below normal. In addition, over the next week, a strong area of high pressure is forecast to bring an increased potential of excessive heat and below normal precipitation to many of these areas, further exacerbating the antecedent dryness.

Forecast confidence is high in the Western Region.

In the High Plains Region, drought persistence is favored for western portions of the Plains, with the potential for additional development in southwestern Colorado. Despite warmer and drier conditions favored across the northern and western High Plains during much of June, antecedent wetness for several locations may be enough to stave off any development by the end of the month. Additionally, in the climatological context, much of the High Plains region is in the midst of their wettest time of year. However, as June progresses, the wetter climate normals do drop off a bit for these western-most areas. Conversely, in eastern parts of the Central Plains, some recent improvements, heavy precipitation in the days leading up to the start of June, and favorable precipitation outlooks for several periods throughout the month are suggestive of additional improvements to, and removal of, drought for parts of Kansas and Nebraska.

Forecast confidence is moderate in the High Plains region.

In the Southern Region, drought removal is forecast by the end of June for northeastern Arkansas, with both favorable temperature and precipitation outlooks through the first one to two weeks of the month. Heavy rainfall in the days leading up to June, favorable precipitation outlooks through the middle of June, and June being a climatologically wet time of year favor drought improvement and removal in western Oklahoma and the northeastern Texas Panhandle. Conversely, drought is likely to persist across western and southern Texas, where precipitation signals are predominantly lacking and warmer than normal temperatures are likely throughout the month. There could be some development and improvement of drought conditions along the edge of existing drought areas in western Texas, depending on where convective activity sets up from week to week during the month, hence the broad persistence, but drought development is most likely in southern Texas where antecedent dryness and hot temperatures are likely to exacerbate conditions by the end of June.

Forecast confidence is moderate for Texas and Oklahoma and high elsewhere in the Southern Region.

In the Midwestern Region, drought persistence is favored for isolated regions experiencing long-term, moderate drought conditions (D1 as depicted in the U.S. Drought Monitor) across the Upper Midwest. Climatologically, June is a wet time of year for the Upper Midwest, but some of the forecast tools are suggestive of drier than normal conditions through the middle of June. One aspect that adds quite a bit of uncertainty is the tendency for clusters of thunderstorms (known as mesoscale convective systems) to develop along the northeastern periphery of regions of high pressure over the western CONUS this time of year, especially toward the latter half of June as the North American Monsoon ridge climatologically begins to establish itself over the southwestern CONUS. Given the uncertainty in the evolution of the region of high pressure in the western CONUS from the second week of June onward, it is difficult to say if these areas will be impacted, hence the forecast of persistence. The rest of the Midwestern Region is likely to remain drought-free through the end of June.

Forecast confidence is low to moderate in the Midwest Region.

Drought is favored to persist through the end of June for parts of the Florida Peninsula in the Southeastern Region. However, there is great uncertainty in this forecast. Although there could be some slight expansion of drought coverage through early June, due to warmer and drier conditions being favored during much of that time, the middle to latter half of June are trending wetter in the medium-range precipitation outlooks. The threat of potential tropical activity is also a factor for this region, especially toward the middle of the month, as the ensemble model guidance is beginning to show increased signals for some unsettled weather in the waters surrounding Hispaniola and Cuba toward the end of the second week and into the third week of June. Additionally, June is the start of Florida's wet season, climatologically, as the sea breeze circulation ramps up. However, it is uncertain whether or not the warm SSTs in the Gulf of Mexico and western Atlantic will weaken or delay the onset of this circulation. Outside of Florida, there are some isolated areas of abnormally dry conditions (D0 as depicted in the U.S. Drought Monitor), but temperature and precipitation outlooks do not indicate drought is likely to develop to any degree for these areas.

Forecast confidence is low in Florida and moderate to high elsewhere in the Southeast Region.

The Northeastern Region is forecast to remain drought-free by the end of June. There is some abnormal dryness (D0 as depicted in the U.S. Drought Monitor) across parts of the southern Delmarva Peninsula, western New York, and northern Maine, but favorable temperature and precipitation outlooks through at least the first half of June are likely to stave off any drought development.

Forecast confidence is moderate to high in the Northeast Region.

Alaska is forecast to remain drought-free by the end of June. There are some longer-term dry signals for precipitation and snowpack is running below normal for the southeastern Panhandle, which is currently depicted in abnormal dryness (D0 as depicted in the U.S. Drought Monitor). However, these same areas received very heavy precipitation during the last week of May. Additionally, cooler than normal conditions are likely through the middle of June, which should also help to curb any further exacerbation of ongoing abnormal dryness.

Forecast confidence is high in Alaska.

Drought persistence is favored for parts of Maui and the Big Island in Hawaii, with the potential for drought to develop (redevelop in some cases) by the end of June. The state has experienced improvement of drought conditions over the past several weeks leading up to the start of June. However, there is still antecedent dryness in place and extended-range outlooks favor near to below normal precipitation, with below normal precipitation being favored for the month as a whole. In addition, June is a drier time of year, climatologically.

Forecast confidence is moderate in Hawaii.

Puerto Rico is likely to remain drought-free by the end of June. Although the North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) is favoring above normal temperatures, above normal precipitation is also favored, and given the wet antecedent wetness over the past month and the potential threat of tropical activity at any point in the warm season, the drought-free depiction is likely not to change.

Forecast confidence is high in Puerto Rico.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are forecast to remain drought-free through the end of June. In a similar manner as its neighbor to the west, Puerto Rico, NMME guidance is favoring above normal precipitation and the potential for tropical activity cannot be ruled out as the warm season progresses.

Forecast confidence is high in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Forecaster: Adam Hartman

Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: June 30, 2024 at 3:00 PM EDT


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