Latest Monthly Assessment -
The moderate La Niña event is expected to slowly relax over the next few months, and thus its influence on the Nation's weather should gradually decline. But for March 2021, it does not look like any decline in strength will be sufficient to reduce its influence, so it remains a significant factor in the Climate Prediction Center's (CPC's) outlooks. Subnormal March Precipitation is favored in the eastern Great Basin, the Four Corners States, much of the central and southern Plains, the immediate Gulf Coast, and Florida. This includes much of the region currently experiencing entrenched severe to exceptional drought (D2 to D4 on the Drought Monitor). Meanwhile, the odds tilt toward surplus precipitation in the Great Lakes Region, the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, the middle Mississippi Valley, central and eastern Alaska, and Hawaii. Much smaller patches of less-severe drought are scattered across these regions. Below-normal temperatures are anticipated in the Far West and the southern one-third of Alaska, but warmer than normal conditions are favored over a much larger part of the country, specifically from the eastern Rockies to the Atlantic Coast, in northern Alaska, and throughout Hawaii.
February 2021 brought a variety of changes to the areas in drought, but the bottom line is that much of the western half of the Nation remains in some degree of dryness, and extreme to exceptional drought (D3 and D4) continues to cover most of the Four Corners States and the southern Great Basin, plus some adjacent areas. Drought conditions improved along the West Coast and in most of Hawaii, and scattered patches of improvement were observed in part of the Four Corners States, the adjacent northern Rockies, the central Plains, central and western Texas, and widely scattered locales farther east. At the same time, dry conditions worsened in some parts of the Intermountain West, northern Montana, the northern Plains, the remainder of Texas, and again in scattered patches farther east.
Taking all this into account, the Drought Outlook through March 2021 expects conditions to generally persist in areas currently affected by drought, with development expected in parts of the central and southern Plains and much of the Florida Peninsula. Improvement or removal is only forecast for southwestern Oregon and immediately adjacent areas, and across Hawaii.
Forecaster: Richard Tinker
Next Monthly Outlook issued: March 31, 2021 at 3 PM EST
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion