Latest Monthly Assessment -
Heavy precipitation during late April and into the beginning of May is likely to result in either drought removal or improvement across northeast Colorado along with central to eastern Texas. Persistence is likely for western Texas and also throughout the long-term drought areas of the West. Recent dryness and elevated probabilities of below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures during May favor a return of drought to northwest Oklahoma and parts of the Texas Panhandle. Development is also favored to occur across southern Idaho and eastern Oregon by the end of May.
Broad persistence is favored for much of the northern to central Great Plains due to the long-term drought conditions and varying precipitation forecasts throughout the month. The first week of May is likely to be mostly dry, while the week-2 precipitation outlook on April 30 calls for elevated probabilities of above normal precipitation. Forecast confidence is low for the northern to central Great Plains since May is one of the wetter months of the year. Persistence is also forecast for Iowa, Wisconsin, and most of Michigan. Prospects for drought removal increase farther to the south across Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio due to rainfall predicted during the first week of May and larger probabilities (above 40 percent) for above normal precipitation in the updated May outlook.
Development for the eastern U.S. is most likely across parts of the Carolinas due to increasing short-term precipitation deficits and a relatively dry start to the month. Any lingering drought across southwest Florida is likely to end during May or shortly thereafter. Removal is also forecast for northwest Pennsylvania and western New York, while persistence is more likely for New England.
Drought persistence is forecast for the Big Island of Hawaii and development remains favored during the early summer. Alaska is forecast to remain drought-free through the end of May. Due to a recent drying trend and the latest precipitation forecasts, persistence or development are favored for Puerto Rico.
Forecaster: Brad Pugh
Next Monthly Outlook issued: May 31, 2021 at 3 PM EDT
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion