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Published April 27, 2011
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through June)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is excerpted and edited from the April 21 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster B. Pugh.
The La Niña event caused drought conditions to worsen across eastern Arizona, eastern Colorado, and New Mexico. Southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico are classified under extreme drought. Basin average snow-water content is running less than 25 percent of average across much of Arizona. The drought forecast for Arizona calls for the persistence, intensification, and development of drought (Figure 11) because the snow-water content in the mountains is very low, the upcoming season is historically dry, and precipitation and temperature forecasts issued by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) indicate enhanced chances for below median precipitation and above-average temperatures for the forecast period. In New Mexico, the forecast also calls for persistence and intensification of drought conditions, including new drought development in the northwest corner of the state, the only region still void of a drought category.
The NOAA–CPC has high confidence in the Arizona forecast and moderate confidence New Mexico forecast.
Elsewhere, dry weather combined with hot temperatures, gusty winds, and low relative humidity resulted in rapidly intensifying drought conditions across Texas. As of April 12, more than 60 percent of Texas is designated as under extreme or exceptional drought, the largest coverage of these combined categories in the state since the inception of the U.S. Drought Monitor in January 2000. Numerous, large wildfires are burning across the state. While precipitation forecasts for the next two weeks favor some improvement in drought conditions in northeast Texas, drought persistence across south and southeast Texas is consistent with the NOAA–CPC outlooks which indicated increased odds for below-median precipitation.
The delineated areas in the Seasonal Drought Outlook are defined subjectively and are based on expert assessment of numerous indicators, including the official precipitation outlooks, various medium- and short-range forecasts , models such as the 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts, soil moisture tools, and climatology.
For more information, visit:
For medium- and short-range forecasts, visit:
For soil moisture tools, visit:
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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