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Published June 20, 2011
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through September)
Data Source(s): NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is excerpted and edited from the June 14 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster A. Allgood.
Mostly dry weather prevailed across the southwestern United States during the previous 30 days, allowing drought areas to persist or intensify. As of June 7, exceptional drought covered nearly 45 percent of New Mexico, including nearly all of the state’s southern half (Figure 11). Exceptional drought expanded into the far eastern portions of neighboring Arizona, where the Wallow Fire has burned more than a half-million acres and currently stands as the largest wildfire in state history. During June and July, the North American monsoon shifts northward from northwest Mexico into the southwestern U.S., bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms, which account for a significant portion of the annual rainfall. The monsoon typically peaks in July and August before winding down in September. Currently, the northward progression of the monsoon through northwestern Mexico has been delayed, while models have provided conflicting forecasts of the monsoon’s strength. Forecasts issued by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) for the monsoon season call for equal chances of above-, below-, or near-average rainfall.
Nonetheless, monsoon rains will inevitably fall and it will likely bring some drought improvement to Arizona, western New Mexico, and portions of Colorado and northwestern Kansas. However, drought improvement is defined in this outlook as a one-category improvement on the U.S. Drought Monitor, rather than total drought elimination or substantial amelioration of impacts.
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
- 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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