Tools used in the U.S. Drought Outlook (USDO) included the official CPC temperature and precipitation outlooks
for October 2012 and the long lead forecast for
October through December 2012, various medium- and short-range forecasts and models such as
the 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts, the most recent 384-hour GFS total precipitation amounts, the
soil moisture tools based on the Constructed Analog on Soil (CAS) moisture, the Climate
Forecast System (CFS, versions 1 and 2), the four-month Palmer drought termination and amelioration probabilities, climatology,
and initial conditions. El Niño precipitation anomalies for October through December were also considered.
At the beginning of October, a widespread area of moderate to heavy rainfall (locally more than 5 inches) resulted in a
1-category improvement to drought categories across northern Georgia and northeast Alabama. Although October and November
are a relatively dry time of year for the Southeast, the CPC outlook for OND calls for enhanced odds for above median
precipitation for eastern Alabama and Georgia. Therefore, some improvement is forecast for this region but long-term
precipitation deficits are not expected to be eliminated.
Forecast confidence for Southeast is moderate.
Frequent rainfall during the past month led to improvement across the mid-Atlantic and western New York. The 6-10/8-14
day outlooks on October 3 along with updated October precipitation outlook call for above median precipitation for these
areas. Soil moisture currently ranks mostly above the 30th percentile. Since above rainfall is favored during the
remainder of October, improvement can be expected for the small areas of ongoing drought across the mid-Atlantic and
western New York.
Forecast confidence for the mid-Atlantic and western New York is high.
Due to an increase in rainfall since late August which began with the remnants of Isaac, significant amelioration of
drought occurred across Arkansas, southeast Missouri, and the eastern Corn Belt. Soil moisture levels and stream flows
have mostly recovered in these areas since mid-summer. The updated October precipitation outlook calls for a tilt towards
above median precipitation across much of the Ohio Valley. Due to expected wetness during October and recent alleviation
of drought since late August, improvement is forecast across the middle Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
Forecast confidence for the middle Mississippi Valley and Ohio Valley is moderate.
According to the USDM, extreme to exceptional drought covers nearly all of Oklahoma with varying drought intensity across
Texas. A relatively dry climatology favors persistence across the Oklahoma Panhandle and the northwest Texas Panhandle.
Prospects for improvement increase across the remainder of Oklahoma and north Texas where climatologically, conditions do
not become significantly drier during OND. Other factors that support some improvement or improvement across much of
Oklahoma and Texas include: several inches of precipitation indicated by the 384-hour forecasts from the 0/6z gfs
models, the 6-10/8-14 day outlooks from October 3 favoring near to above median precipitation, and the CPC seasonal
outlook for OND calling for enhanced odds of above median precipitation across central and south Texas.
Forecast confidence for Oklahoma and Texas is moderate.
During the past month, drought increased to cover nearly all of the northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley
with drought intensifying across the central Great Plains. According to the USDM, most of Kansas, Nebraska, and southern
South Dakota are designated in the extreme or exceptional drought category. A relatively dry climatology favors
persistence across the northern/central Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley. However, some improvement is forecast
in northeast North Dakota and extreme northern areas of Minnesota where 1 to 2.5 inches of precipitation are expected at
the beginning of the outlook period.
Forecast confidence for the northern/central Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley is high.
During September, drought expanded in Montana where dry weather was accompanied by unseasonably warm temperatures. A
relatively dry climatology favors persistence across Montana. Although development remains forecast across Montana due to
the dry initial conditions, some precipitation at the beginning of the outlook period reduces forecast confidence.
Forecast confidence for the northern Rockies is low.
During September, dry weather accompanied by unseasonably warm temperatures also affected the Pacific Northwest. As of
October 3, multiple large wildfires continue to burn across the Pacific Northwest. Since tools on all time scales
indicate enhanced odds for below median precipitation, persistence or development is forecast for the Pacific Northwest
and northern California. El Niño precipitation composites indicating below median precipitation across these areas are
Forecast confidence for the Pacific Northwest and northern California is moderate.
Persistence is forecast for the Southwest and central Rockies with precipitation associated with the monsoon ending.
Since the 6-10/8-14 day outlooks from October 3 favor near to above median precipitation across the Southwest and weak
signals exist among the seasonal precipitation tools, forecast confidence is low for persistence. Climatology tends to be
dry across southern Arizona during OND.
Forecast confidence for the Southwest and central Rockies is low.
In Hawaii, October through December become progressively wetter. However, the long-lead forecast indicates enhanced
chances for below-normal rainfall. As a result, drought is expected to persist in existing areas and slowly expand into
other parts of the state, much like the previous Drought Outlook. Still, the fact that the Islands are getting
climatologically wetter during the period does imply that the chances for drought-relieving rains improve later in the
period, even if only based on climatology.
Forecast confidence for Hawaii is low.