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HOME > Expert Assessments > Drought Information > Seasonal Drought Outlook
 
 
 
 
 
United States Seasonal Drought Outlook Graphic - click on image to enlarge
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The Seasonal Drought Outlook for September to November 2021 was updated in the Central Plains, the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, the Southwest, and northern New England. For northern New England, the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, and the Southwest, prospects for improvement have increased based on recent heavy precipitation in combination with short-term dynamical and statistical model guidance, which falls more in line with the Monthly Drought Outlook (MDO) for September 2021. Across the Central Plains, persistent dryness and short-term forecasts for continued heat and below-normal precipitation increased the chances for drought development, consistent with that depicted in the September 2021 MDO.





Updated Seasonal Assessment - The Seasonal Drought Outlook for September to November 2021 was updated in the Central Plains, the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, the Southwest, and northern New England. For northern New England, the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest, and the Southwest, prospects for improvement have increased based on recent heavy precipitation in combination with short-term dynamical and statistical model guidance, which falls more in line with the Monthly Drought Outlook (MDO) for September 2021. Across the Central Plains, persistent dryness and short-term forecasts for continued heat and below-normal precipitation increased the chances for drought development, consistent with that depicted in the September 2021 MDO.





Latest Seasonal Assessment - ENSO-neutral conditions (leaning cooler than normal) are present in the tropical Pacific Ocean with an increased likelihood for La Niña development during the October-Novemeber-December (OND) season, with a 70-80% chance of La Niña during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2021-22. Drought remains entrenched across much of the West, Northern Plains, and Upper Midwest. The West Coast and the Northern Rockies mainly saw deterioration over the summer months. Conversely, the Southwest has experienced marked improvements to drought conditions in the months leading up to the OND season due to a robust North American Monsoon. A transition into a wetter time of year for much of the West, coupled with the potential onset of La Niña later in the period, increases chances for improving drought conditions across the Pacific Northwest and Northern Rockies. High soil moisture at the start of the period across portions of the Four Corners Region should help to stave off further drought redevelopment across Arizona, despite the potential late onset of La Niña during the period, which could project a warmer, drier signal across the region. The Great Plains and Midwest have been a battleground of sorts since the September-November release of the Seasonal Drought Outlook, with mixed drought improvement and deterioration. Conversely to the Western Region, the Great Plains are entering into a climatologically drier time of year. Given ongoing drought in the Northern Plains, drought persistence is favored north of central Nebraska. Farther south, increased precipitation deficits in the last 30 days across much of the Central and Southern Plains and above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation favored throughout OND increase odds for widespread development across the Central and Southern Plains. Precipitation signals are wetter-than-normal over the Great Lakes through October, but dwindle in magnitude and coverage as the season progresses, and temperatures are expected to remain above-normal. With diminishing evaporation and evapotranspiration rates during OND, short-term improvements are favored for the Arrowhead of Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and parts of Michigan, while persistence is favored elsewhere for the Midwest. Since above-normal precipitation is slightly favored during OND across ongoing drought areas of the Northeast, improving conditions are most likely. The Southeast is expected to remain drought-free, despite some pockets of dryness showing up in the Carolinas in recent weeks.



Alaska will likely remain drought-free, given the transition into the winter months and a wet climatology along the southern coast. Hawaii is expected to experience at least some drought improvement as they head into a climatologically wetter time of year, coupled with the potential for a weak La Niña to bring some much needed precipitation. Persistence is favored for Puerto Rico as the Atlantic Hurricane season winds down later in the outlook period. Despite warm, dry signals at both the monthly and seasonal leads, confidence is not high enough to forecast any development across Puerto Rico.



Forecaster: Adam Hartman



Next Seasonal Outlook issued: October 21, 2021 at 8:30 AM EDT



Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion

 


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