Latest Seasonal Assessment -
Heavy precipitation during the past 30-days resulted in significant drought reduction from the Rocky Mountain states eastward to the Atlantic Coast, western Washington state, the southern Intermountain region, and a small portion of extreme southeastern California. A one-category degradation was noted primarily in northern and central California, far western Nevada, northwestern Wyoming, southeastern Georgia, and southern Florida. The seasonal drought outlook (SDO) valid from November 15, 2018-February 28, 2019 is based on precipitation outlooks for all time ranges out to a season in advance (Dec-Feb 2018-19), the expectation of a weak El Niño this winter, and consideration of current stream flows and soil moisture.
With the wet season now well underway across the western contiguous U.S., and the expectation of a weak El Niño this upcoming winter, drought improvement and/or removal is deemed a good bet across the coastal Pacific Northwest, California, Arizona, New Mexico, southern Colorado, far western parts of Texas, and also parts of the Southeast. Drought is forecast to persist across the interior Northwest, northern Rockies, northern High Plains, central Intermountain region, central Rockies, and parts of the south-central Plains. Residual drought was removed across northern New York, Vermont, and eastern Kansas. A stormy pattern for southern Alaska is expected to bring improvement and/or removal to the drought currently in place over the southern Panhandle region. In Hawaii, there is no drought at this time. However, with the prediction of a weak El Niño for this upcoming winter season (DJF 2018-19), drought development is favored for the more vulnerable west-facing slopes of the Big Island, Maui, and Molokai. There is no drought in Puerto Rico at this time, and none is expected through the end of February 2019.
Forecaster: Anthony Artusa
Next Seasonal Outlook issued: December 20, 2018 at 8:30 AM EST
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion