Latest Seasonal Assessment -
Drought expanded or intensified across much of Texas and the Dakotas since March due to increasing precipitation deficits along with periods of enhanced winds. Persistence is favored for most of these areas, based on elevated probabilities of below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures during May-June-July. Development is expected across west-central Texas along with parts of Oklahoma where 60-day precipitation deficits exist and below normal precipitation is likely during May, one of the wettest months of the year. Recent heavy precipitation limits the coverage of development across the central Great Plains. The forecast confidence for persistence and development across the Great Plains is low since May-June-July is their wettest time of year. Heavy rainfall, forecast during mid to late April, favors drought removal for southeast Texas and northeast Louisiana. A wet climatology and the May-June-July outlook calling for equal chances of below, near, or above normal precipitation support drought improvement or removal across eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The drought removal forecast for the Great Lakes and eastern Corn Belt is consistent with the monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks. The Great Plains and Corn Belt will be closely monitored in the monthly drought outlooks through the summer.
Persistence is likely for California and the Southwest where the climatology is relatively dry throughout much of the outlook period. Rainfall, associated with the North American Monsoon, typically begins across the Southwest during mid-July. Since below normal precipitation and above normal temperatures are favored across much of the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West, drought is forecast to expand in coverage across the West by the end of July.
A wet latter half of April along with the onset of the convective season strongly support removal across the small drought areas of southern Florida. The removal forecast for the Northeast is based on elevated probabilities of above normal precipitation during May-June-July.
Alaska is forecast to remain drought-free through the end of July. Drought is favored to gradually end across Puerto Rico during the next few months. Drought development and persistence is forecast across the leeward sides of the Hawaiian Islands.
Forecaster: Brad Pugh
Next Seasonal Outlook issued: May 20, 2021 at 8:30 AM EDT
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion