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Published August 23, 2011
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through November)
Data Source(s): NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is partially excerpted and edited from the August 16 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster D. Miskus.
Monsoon rainfall began in earnest during the first half of July across portions of the Southwest, primarily in Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. In New Mexico, however, drought remained entrenched in the eastern half of the state, while some monsoon showers aided the far western areas. In recent weeks, monsoon activity has been centered near the Arizona and New Mexico border with some showers spreading into northeastern New Mexico and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. However, storms have missed southeastern New Mexico and far western Texas. Short -and medium-term forecasts spanning 6–10 and 8–14 days favor drier weather for the western sections of the Southwest, and near-average precipitation for the eastern parts. The NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) monthly and seasonal outlooks support increased chances of below-median rainfall and above-average temperatures across the entire Southwest monsoon region. Also, there are increasing chances for the re-emergence of a La Niña event this winter. In the past, the second winter in back-to-back La Niña events has delivered below-average precipitation to the Southwest. Based on these forecasts, drought is forecast to persist from Arizona into New Mexico, with possible development in western Arizona and southern Utah and Colorado (Figure 12). The CPC assigns a medium confidence for this forecast.
A persistent ridge of high pressure has maintained hot and dry conditions across the south-central U.S. for the second consecutive month, exacerbating the drought in the southern Plains and contributing to below-average rainfall in many parts of New Mexico. Texas and Oklahoma experienced the warmest July in the last 117 years, while Texas had the second driest July on record. For the May–June period, Texas and New Mexico experienced the second driest period on record, while February–July was the driest on record for New Mexico.
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.
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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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