May Drought Outlook Shows Only a Few Dry Areas
Thanks in large part to a very wet April, the nation’s drought forecast shows very few areas of concern for the rest of this morning. The recent drought monitor had the smallest drought on record, only 6.1%. The monitor dates back to January 2000. The greatest concentration of drought conditions are favored to continue through the rest of spring, with increasing chances for El Niño development by late summer and fall.
In the West, with the climatological transition from wet Spring conditions to dry and warm summer weather ahead, small areas of pre-existing drought in southern sections of California and Arizona should persist during May.
Climatology for May favors increased precipitation across the middle third of the lower 48 States (Plains and Midwest) with many areas normally receiving 15-20% of their annual precipitation during this month. The few small remaining drought areas in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado should be gone by the end of May with nearly all of the forecasts favoring above-median precipitation.
— NWSCPC (@NWSCPC) April 30, 2017
In the Northeast, the forecast favors above-median rainfall, along with probable sub-normal temperatures over the first half of the month. This supports removal of any drought conditions in the region. In addition, slow improvement has been the trend in the Northeast during the past 3-4 months with near to above normal precipitation and a gradual recovery of hydrologic conditions.
For the Southeast, the drought has eased across western and northern sections during April. Unfortunately, there are some areas that may worsen and/or expand – mainly across the eastern Gulf and southern Atlantic coastal regions. Early May should bring heavy rainfall to western and northern sections of the Southeast, so continuing improvement is expected in that area. Further southeast, the existing drought should persist and may expand. In Florida, the normal dry season typically ends in late May or early June as the transition toward the tropical rainy season begins. Recent conditions have favored deterioration and subnormal rainfall is expected for the month, so some additional drought development is likely before the rainy season takes over.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels