Latest Seasonal Assessment -
Drought intensity remained steady or worsened across California, the Southwest, and the central to southern high Plains from mid-February through early March 2018, while heavy to excessive rainfall resulted in drought elimination across the lower Mississippi Valley, eastern Oklahoma, and northeast Texas. Short-term moderate drought expanded across southeast Georgia and coastal South Carolina during the past month. A small area of short-term moderate drought was recently introduced to south Florida.
The drought outlook valid from March 15, 2018 through June 30, 2018 is based on initial conditions including soil moisture, current snowpack, and reservoir levels, 7-day precipitation forecasts, extended range (6-10/8-14 day) precipitation and temperature outlooks, the CPC April through June (AMJ) precipitation and temperature outlooks, and climatology.
An increasingly dry time of year broadly favors persistence of ongoing drought across Oregon, California, and the Southwest. Despite below-average snow water content across the Sierra Nevada Mountains, development is expected to be limited due to the 2016-17 wet season, most reservoir levels currently near average, and precipitation during the latter half of March.
Drought is likely to intensify across the southern high Plains during the remainder of March. Based on the AMJ precipitation and temperature outlooks, persistence and development are forecast for much of Oklahoma and Texas. Prospects for improvement or removal are higher across eastern Kansas and Missouri during the next three months. Recent snowfall and an increasingly wet time of year support improvement or removal of drought across the northern Great Plains by the end of June.
Removal is likely across the small drought areas depicted across the mid-Atlantic, while persistence and a slight expansion of drought are forecast across southern Georgia and parts of South Carolina. Although short-term drought is expected to develop across the Florida Peninsula during the early spring, any drought is likely to be short-lived due to the reliably wet June climatology.
Persistence is forecast for the southern Alaska Panhandle, while abnormal dryness is expected to become moderate drought across parts of southern mainland Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. Hawaii and Puerto Rico are expected to remain drought-free through the end of June.
Forecaster: Brad Pugh
Next Seasonal Outlook issued: April 19, 2018 at 8:30 AM EDT
Seasonal Drought Outlook Discussion