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Published May 26, 2011
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through August)
Data Source(s): NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is excerpted and edited from the May 17 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster R. Tinker.
Drought covers the Southwest from western New Mexico through central Arizona. Little or no rain is expected through the end of May, which is common for this time of year. The June–August period tends to be wetter, and as a result the forecast calls for some drought improvement (Figure 12). However, seasonal forecasting for monsoon precipitation is often inaccurate, which makes confidence in the forecast for the Southwest low.
Elsewhere in the U.S., the southern half of the Great Plains states are experiencing the most acute drought conditions in the country. Even though dry conditions started as recently as October, the period since then has brought record dryness to many locations, with some parts of western Texas and eastern New Mexico recording only a few tenths of an inch of rain. Serious and intensifying agricultural impacts and frequently high wildfire danger have been a mainstay for several months now, and longer-term hydrologic impacts have been on the rise. Fortunately, there is an expectation for 1–3 inches of rain in the short-term from eastern and northern Kansas southward through part of northeastern Texas. Elsewhere, however, the odds favor below-average precipitation through the end of the month across Texas and New Mexico. Drought should persist relatively intact in southern Texas, while western and northern parts of this region are headed into their wet season, making it likely that at least some surface moisture improvement will be felt by the end of August. This forecast should not be interpreted as calling for widespread, significant relief. Confidence in the forecasts for the southern half of the Great Plains, however, is low.
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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