Latest Seasonal Assessment -
As the dry season starts in late May and June for the western contiguous U.S. and based on precipitation and temperature forecasts and outlooks at most time ranges, the most likely outcome is for current drought to persist and for potential new drought development in currently anomalous dry areas in the Pacific Northwest, the Northern Intermountain Region, parts of central California and the Central Great Basin. This is associated with well below normal precipitation since the beginning of the Water Year (Oct 1, 2019) and the expectation of warm, dry conditions in Jun-Jul-Aug (JJA). Drought removal or improvement is favored for parts of the Central and Southern High Plains, with the expectation of a favorably wet JJA climatology and all range forecasts and outlooks. For the areas of drought near the Gulf Coast, nearly all official precipitation outlooks from one week to one season in advance favor at least a one-category improvement in drought conditions, resulting in drought removal for most areas. Elsewhere across the Lower 48 states, no broad-scale areas of drought are expected to develop. In Hawaii, with the rainy season ending and outlooks at all time ranges favoring warm and dry conditions, either new drought development or persistence of existing drought is favored in most of the leeward areas. The only exception is the west side (Kona slopes region) of the Big Island, which has its wet season during the summer. There is no drought at the current time in Alaska, and there are no convincing indications to the contrary for the June-August season. Drought in the southern Puerto Rico is likely to persist for June-August.
Forecaster: Yun Fan
Next Seasonal Outlook issued: June 18, 2020 at 8:30am EDT
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion