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Published October 27, 2010
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through January)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
This summary is partially excerpted and edited from the September 15 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical discussion produced by the NOAA–Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster R. Tinker.
Monsoon rainfall provided only some drought relief to eastern Arizona and western New Mexico during the summer, leaving most of the region in need of copious rain and snow to improve conditions. About 69 and 91 percent of Arizona and New Mexico, respectively, are classified with moderate drought or a more severe drought category (see pages 13 and 14). However, with the expectation that the newly developed La Niña event will persist for the next six months—which will likely deliver below-average rainfall to the Southwest—the outlook favors the persistence or intensification of drought across nearly all of Arizona and New Mexico (Figure 10). Drought is also expected to develop in western Arizona and Southern California.
Elsewhere, drought is expected to continue and expand across the southern tier of the U.S. and in the central Plains, as most mid-range and longer forecasts suggest dry conditions. There is some indication that wet conditions may occur in the next 6–10 days in the central Rockies, parts of the Plains, and Texas, but likely not enough to improve drought conditions. Drought development was omitted in parts of Alabama and Mississippi, where longer-term forecasts for dry conditions were less confident and where Tropical Storm Lee dropped 5–12 inches of rain in early September. In addition, drought development is absent from parts of Florida that received 8–15 inches of rain in early October. The CPC has high confidence in these forecasts.
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
- Dan Ferguson, CLIMAS Program Director
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Gigi Owen, CLIMAS Assistant Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Swetish, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
The CLIMAS Web site contains official and non-official forecasts, as well as other information. While we make every effort to verify this information, please understand that we do not warrant the accuracy of any of these materials.... Read full disclaimer