Latest Seasonal Assessment -
During the past month, recharging precipitation overspread much of the upper Midwest and Corn Belt, bringing some amelioration of ongoing drought conditions, though not fully removing drought impacts. Heavy precipitation across Texas also brought some drought relief. In contrast, unusually hot, dry conditions across the Southeast promoted widespread drought expansion and intensification. Drought also slowly expanded across the Four Corners region in areas that received lackluster monsoon rainfall. The seasonal drought outlook for December 2023 through February 2024 is influenced heavily by the anticipated midlatitude response to the ongoing El Niņo, which favors an active southern stream with increased moisture across the southern CONUS. Drought reductions are most likely across the Southeast, where severe to exceptional drought has become the most widespread in the nation. Continued drought relief is favored for the eastern half of Texas, but a drier climatology and weaker ENSO climate anomalies favors persistence across western Texas and the Great Lakes region. Seasonal precipitation across the Pacific Northwest favors at least some relief for coastal Washington and Oregon and the Cascades, while climatological dryness and freezing of soils and streams makes persistence the most likely outcome across the northern tier, the north-central Plains, Midwest, and Great Lakes regions. No drought development is anticipated for Alaska during the winter months. Across Hawaii, the disrupted trade wind regime and subsidence to the north of the El Niņo enhanced convective response favor a drier than normal start to the wet season. Therefore, drought is favored to persist and expand. The ENSO signal also favors a slightly suppressed signal across the Caribbean, making drought persistence the most likely outcome for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Forecaster: Adam Allgood
Next Seasonal Drought Outlook issued: December 21, 2023 at 8:30 AM EST
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion