Abstract Author: Douglas Le Comte
Abstract Title: U.S. Drought Highlights since October 2007
Abstract: In the southern Plains, and especially Texas, moisture conditions made a dramatic shift from wet to dry during the autumn of 2007, as near-record dryness from October into February resulted in severe drought impacts. Farther west, major winter storms relieved drought in California and elsewhere in the West, but record spring dryness caused drought to return in California, contributing to wildfire danger, dried up pastures, and water shortages. Unexpectedly for a La Nina, the Southeast saw winter drought relief, only to see dry weather return in March. Looking at how well the seasonal drought outlooks did, verification scores did quite well given that weather patterns in the winter failed to conform with La Nina conditions. Correctly forecasting large areas of improvement in the West during the winter worked out well, as did forecasts of expanding drought in parts of Texas and the Southwest for the spring. We will take a look at some of the newer drought forecast tools and see how well they did.