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Published January 25, 2011
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through April)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is excerpted and edited from the January 20 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center and written by forecaster B. Pugh.
Short-term forecasts call for dry weather in the Southwest, and seasonal climate forecasts issued by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) suggest that the February–April period also will be dry. These forecasts are influenced heavily by the current La Niña event; many past moderate to strong events produced dry conditions in the Southwest. Currently, the water content contained in snowpack is between 25 and 75 percent of average in southeast Arizona and most of New Mexico. Due to a low snowfall so far this winter, a tendency for dry conditions during La Niña events, and forecasts for below-median precipitation, the drought forecast calls for persistence, expansion, and development across much of Arizona and New Mexico (Figure 11). The CPC assigns a high confidence for this forecast.
Elsewhere in the U.S., scant precipitation fell across the central and southern Plains and western Texas during the past month, causing drought conditions to expand or intensify across western Nebraska, eastern Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and western Texas. Precipitation forecasts indicate elevated chances for below-average precipitation in these regions. Based on these forecasts, historical dry conditions during the up-coming three month period, and dry current conditions, drought is likely to persist and develop across the central and southern Plains and western Texas. In many other parts of the South, drought is forecasted to persist or intensify. This forecast is heavily influenced by the current moderate to strong La Niña event, which is expected to continue during the next three months. These events often are associated with dry conditions in these regions.
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
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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