National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center
Discussion for the Seasonal Drought Outlook
Persistence is forecast for the ongoing drought areas of Colorado, while development likely for eastern Colorado where abnormal dryness is depicted on the U.S. Drought Monitor. These forecasts are based on very dry initial conditions, CPC’s June outlook favoring below median precipitation, and enhanced odds for above normal temperatures in the CPC June/June-August outlooks.
Forecast confidence for Colorado is moderate.
Severe to extreme drought is ongoing across southern Arizona and New Mexico. The Southwestern Monsoon onset typically occurs in July, with peak rainfall occurring during August. Monsoon thunderstorms have the potential to bring local drought relief, but there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the monsoon’s intensity and extent forecast. A lack of snow cover in the southern Rockies may promote an early development of the Southwestern heat low, which could bring monsoon rains as early as June, but some forecast tools indicate a below average monsoon signal, particularly in eastern locations. Even given an average monsoon, annual rainfall deficits are large across southern New Mexico and the Texas panhandle. Therefore, some improvement is forecast across the monsoon region of the Southwest, with a small area of improvement in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.
Forecast confidence for the Southwest is low.
Widespread moderate to severe drought covers much of the remainder of the Southwestern U.S., and a small area of moderate drought has developed in central Washington. While the Southwestern Monsoon can bring moisture throughout the Four Corners States, the summer is climatologically dry across the Great Basin, California, and the Northwest. The CPC 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks both favor abnormal dryness across the Southwest, while the monthly and seasonal outlooks indicate enhanced odds for below median precipitation in the Northwest. Based on these forecasts, persistence is expected across the drought areas of the western U.S.
Forecast confidence for the remainder of the West is high.
Next Outlook issued: June 21, 2012