Latest Monthly Assessment -
The Monthly Drought Outlook (MDO) for September 2019 is based on official temperature and precipitation outlooks from WPC and CPC (including CPC's updated temperature and precipitation outlooks for September), current soil moisture information, climatology, recent precipitation deficits and surpluses, and dynamical model guidance. For the Southeast, the MDO is largely based on the latest National Hurricane Center forecast track of Hurricane Dorian, which, as of 2pm ET today (8/31) still takes Dorian close to the east coast of Florida before recurving it northward. Drought areas near the Southeast coast of the United States are favored to be improved and/or removed, as they are expected to be well within the range of Dorian's precipitation shield. However, for northern portions of Georgia and Alabama, which are expected to be far enough removed from Dorian's predicted track, drought persistence is favored. The Northeast CONUS is expected to be drought-free in September. Frontal activity and cooler weather are predicted to result in drought improvement/removal across the current drought areas of the Midwest, and also northeastern North Dakota. Given the very wet spring in this region, there were significant delays in crop planting, which now exposes them to early season killing freezes before they have a chance to reach maturity. In the South, the best chances for drought improvement and/or removal include the Texas Panhandle (and extreme southern Texas), extreme southwestern Oklahoma, and up into southwestern Kansas. Forecast precipitation at nearly all time-scales out to a month in advance favor above normal amounts of precipitation. These locations also have the added advantage of a wet September climatology. In contrast, central and eastern Texas tend to be drier in September, and most precipitation outlooks out to a month in advance favor drier-than-normal conditions there. An area of drought development has been introduced from central and northeastern Texas into northern Louisiana. In southern portions of the West, despite CPC's updated monthly precipitation outlook calling for above normal precipitation in September, it is thought that whatever rain does fall will not be enough to justify a one-category improvement in the drought designation. The Southwest Monsoon has not been very favorable for this region either, and monsoon season typically winds down during September. A wildcard to consider is the possibility of a stray eastern Pacific hurricane that recurves into the American Southwest, with an accompanying Gulf moisture surge. For the northern portions of the West, drought persistence is anticipated from the Pacific Northwest to the far Northern Rockies, with the typical onset of the rainy season being about a month from now. Outside of the Lower 48 states, September is a climatologically favorable time for the southern Alaska coast, with the seasonal renewal of significant cyclone activity. Therefore, at least a one-category improvement in the Alaska drought depiction is predicted. In Hawaii, the Big Island is considered to have the best chance for drought mitigation, as model forecasts indicate prolonged periods of high pressure farther north. Finally, drought persistence is favored across the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, despite the rainy season typically continuing into November. Despite the close call with Dorian, there are no tropical systems currently predicted to affect Puerto Rico for at least the forseeable future.
Forecaster: Anthony Artusa
Next Monthly Outlook issued: September 30, 2019 at 3 PM EST
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion