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Published March 27, 2013
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through June 2013)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is partially excerpted and edited from the March 21 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster B. Pugh.
Drought is expected to persist for much of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona (Figure 11) due to low snow water equivalent values (currently around 75 percent of average) and a below-average streamflow forecast for the spring and early summer. Enhanced odds for below-median precipitation and above-average temperatures during April–June also favor persistence. Drought is forecast to develop in some areas in the Southwest, most notably in the central mountains of Arizona. However, snowpack conditions in these regions are near average and the upcoming three-month period is historically dry. Drought impacts in this region, if they emerge, may be caused by rapid snowmelt brought on by increased temperatures. In parts of northeast Colorado, some improvement in drought is forecast as a result of increased chances for precipitation in coming weeks and a lack of a long-term dry signal in the models during this three-month season. The CPC has high confidence in its drought forecast for Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.
For the southern High Plains, the CPC also forecasts drought persistence because the monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks favor below-median precipitation. In addition, there are enhanced chances for above-average temperatures during the April–June period. There are, however, some prospects for improvement across northeast Oklahoma due to expected rainfall in the short term. The CPC assigns moderate confidence to this forecast.
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 Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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