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Updated Drought Forecast into Early Summer

26 Apr 2017, 2:29 pm

The Climate Prediction Center recently updated its drought forecast for the coming period from May into July. Most of the country is looking drought-free, with significant improvement ongoing in the West. Although the dry season is fast approaching in the West, the past 30 days continued to bring ample precipitation to much of the region. In addition, temperatures have averaged near to below normal in the Northwest and northern California, providing a steady and stable start to the spring snow melt season in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada Mountains. With May to July climatologically dry, any lingering areas of drought conditions are expected to persist through the end of July, mainly in the far Southwest.

In the northern half of the High Plains, between one-half to two-thirds of their normal annual precipitation falls during the next 3 months, making the late spring and early summer a critical time for receiving precipitation across much of the middle third of the Nation. Over one-third of the normal annual precipitation occurs during this time in the upper Midwest. With recent short-term wetness and good odds for above-median precipitation in the short and long-term forecasts (out to 3-months), drought improvement or removal is favored in the High Plains and South Central Great Plains.

Very dry conditions persist in Florida. The drought will likely linger through May into June, but tropical showers should greatly increase in coverage and intensity during the summer and eliminate any short-term dryness by the end of July. Over one-third of the normal annual precipitation occurs during this time in the southern half of the Sunshine State.

In the rest of the Southeast, short-term dryness across Central Alabama and Georgia has recently expanded the drought here. Additionally, with the long-term drought across Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, the drought is expected to persist or develop across most of this region. There is a mostly unfavorable short-term forecast for decent rains over the region and the 1 to 3 month precipitation outlook shows near normal precipitation with above normal temperatures.

Near to above normal precipitation this year has slowly eased pockets of drought conditions across New England. With the short-term forecasts pointing toward above-normal precipitation, additional slow improvement is expected. Similarly, short-term forecasts in the mid-Atlantic favor decent rainfall, hence the improvement.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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