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 HOME > Expert Assessments > Drought Information > Monthly Drought Outlook
United States Monthly Drought Outlook Graphic - click on image to enlarge
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Latest Monthly Assessment - During late February, mostly dry weather returned to the Pacific Northwest and northern California, limiting any further drought improvements. Localized precipitation fell across portions of the Southwest, although mostly dry conditions prevailed across southern Arizona and New Mexico. Seasonably dry weather continued throughout most of the Plains states, while a series of potent winter storms brought considerable rain, snow, and ice to the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, easing drought conditions across western Tennessee and much of Kentucky. In contrast, continued below median precipitation was observed across the central Gulf Coast, where decreasing soil moisture and low streamflow values promoted drought expansion. During March, near term precipitation over the West followed by a return to drier conditions is forecast during early March, with the updated CPC monthly outlook tilting the odds towards below median precipitation across northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Additionally, the CPC temperature outlook maintains enhanced chances for above normal temperatures. These outlooks, coupled with a warming and drier March climatology, do not support any additional improvements across the West. Drought expansion is also possible across parts of far northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. A potent winter storm is forecast to impact the Four Corners states during early March, bringing much needed rainfall and mountain snow. While this precipitation has the potential to bring short term localized drought improvements to northwestern Arizona, southwestern Colorado, and far northern New Mexico, the overall longer term impact of this storm on widespread multi-year drought conditions is anticipated to be relatively insubstantial. This is primarily due to the very low incipient snowpack conditions, low reservoir levels, and an anticipated return to a warmer pattern later in the month which would promote early snow melt. Outside of higher elevation areas that receive the heaviest precipitation, drought persistence is more likely during March across the Four Corners. Climatologically dry conditions prevailed across most of the Plains States during February, and March is also a climatologically dry month. With no significant tilt in the climate signals, drought persistence is anticipated for Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Additional drought development is possible over southeastern Oklahoma before climatological precipitation increases later in the Spring. Across the East, additional widespread precipitation is forecast from more winter storms across the Tennessee and Ohio Valleys, which is predicted to result in additional drought reduction. The central Gulf Coast will likely miss out on this precipitation once again, although the updated CPC March outlook tilts the odds towards above-median precipitation across the Southeast. Based on climatological drought reduction potential and the CPC monthly outlook, drought removal is anticipated across most of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, while persistence is favored over Louisiana and South Florida. Across Hawaii, an anticipated wetter pattern during early and mid-March may bring some relief to the eastern portions of the Big Island and Kauai.

Forecaster: Adam Allgood

Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: March 31, 2015 at 3:00 PM EDT

Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion

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Page last modified: February 28, 2015
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