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Published September 20, 2011
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through December)
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 B. Pugh.
Monsoon rainfall provided some drought relief to eastern Arizona and western New Mexico in recent weeks. However, the monsoon is ending and 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—favors the persistence or development of drought across Arizona, southeast Utah, southwest Colorado, and much of New Mexico (Figure 11). Some improvement in drought conditions is forecast southeast Colorado and northeast New Mexico based on the expectation that storms will dump moderate to heavy rainfall in the next few weeks. The CPC has moderate confidence in this forecast. Elsewhere, a persistent ridge of high pressure sustained hot and dry conditions across the south-central U.S. for most of the summer, maintaining a large area of extreme to exceptional drought that developed during last winter. Texas had its driest summer on record, and both Texas and Oklahoma had the hottest summer on record. Little relief is expected for drought conditions in the two states as a result of the La Niña event.
Forecasts indicate enhanced odds for below-average precipitation and, therefore, drought is forecast to persist. However, tropical cyclone activity usually extends through the end of November and these storms can bring large amounts of rain.
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.
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