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Published November 23, 2010
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through February)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is excerpted and edited from the November 18 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center and written by forecaster R. Tinker.
Short-term forecasts call for dry weather, and seasonal climate forecasts issued by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) suggest that the December–February period also will be dry. These forecasts are influenced heavily by the current La Niña event; many past moderate to strong events produce dry conditions in the Southwest. As a result, drought is forecast to persist in northeastern Arizona and develop to cover nearly all of Arizona, except southern portions of the state, and the northwest corner of New Mexico (Figure 11). In central Arizona, La Niña may substantially decrease winter snowpack in the higher elevations. The CPC assigns a high probability to the forecast for the Southwest.
Elsewhere in the West, only a few patches of drought linger. However, where drought has persisted, including central Nevada, across southern Oregon, northeastern California, and adjacent areas, it has lasted for at least nine months. Above-average precipitation is likely in central Nevada into late November, but the seasonal outlook shows no shift in the odds toward either dryness or wetness during the winter months.
In the southern tier of the U.S., large areas are classified as experiencing drought or abnormally dry conditions. Drought in these areas is likely to persist and expand as a result of the La Niña event; such events typically deliver below-average precipitation. La Niña’s influence on precipitation is also reflected in the CPC’s seasonal outlooks for the winter, which call for dry conditions (see Figures 10a–d).
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 Dubious, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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