Latest Monthly Assessment -
During July, limited drought improvement occurred across the Southwest, with drought intensifying over the Pacific Northwest. Drought continues to affect parts of the Southeast, while short-term rainfall deficits increased across the western Gulf Coast, East Texas, and the Lower Mississippi Valley. Drought doubled in coverage across Alaska during the past month, with the state's wildfire season on a record pace. Below-average rainfall associated with the ongoing El Nino intensified drought across Puerto Rico this summer.
The monthly drought outlook valid for August is based on initial conditions, the CPC August precipitation and temperature outlooks, and climatology. The most likely area for drought development across the continental U.S. is the Lower Mississippi Valley and East Texas due to a lack of rainfall during July. Also, the first half of August is expected to remain mostly dry with above-normal temperatures. Drought persistence is forecast for inland areas of the Southeast. Soil moisture typically declines across this region during August and there is no strong wet signal among the precipitation tools. Prospects for drought improvement or removal increase across Florida since August is typically a wet time of year and the start of the month looks to be quite wet. Persistence is forecast for the small areas of long-term drought across parts of Long Island and New England.
Since August is a relatively dry time of year, persistence is likely across California, the Great Basin, and the Pacific Northwest. Monsoon rainfall could provide beneficial rainfall to the Southwest, but opportunities for widespread improvement to the protracted drought across the Southwest are not expected until the 2015-16 winter. New Mexico and parts of eastern Arizona have experienced a wet start to the summer. This factor and expected short-term rainfall increase chances for additional drought improvement/removal across eastern Arizona and New Mexico.
Drought is expected to persist across interior Alaska, while chances for drought removal are higher at and near the Kenai Peninsula and the southern Alaska Panhandle. The small areas of moderate drought are expected to persist across the Hawaiian Islands with sufficient rainfall limited to the windward, east-facing slopes of Hawaii. However, potential effects from Hurricane Guillermo reduce confidence. Suppressed convection, including a reduction of tropical cyclone activity is typical during El Nino summers across the Caribbean. Therefore, drought persistence and development is likely for most of Puerto Rico.
Forecaster: B. Pugh
Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: August 31, 2015 at 3:00 PM EDT
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion