01/26/2023, 1:44 pm EST

U.S. Soil Moisture Outlook

Highlight: Intense drought projected Kansas to Texas by May 1st. Fig. 1: Latest U.S. Drought Monitor and annotated wetter/drier trend for January. Discussion: The latest U.S. Drought Monitor indicates extreme to exceptional drought in Kansas, parts of Oklahoma and northeast Nebraska (Fig. 1). Other extreme drought regions are patchy and located in the Great Basin to Columbia Basin, Northern Montana and Central Texas. During January so far, above normal precipitation has eased the California drought although their dry PDSI regime is based mostly on a long-term rainfall deficit. Several other wet zones are observed in January including Utah, Nebraska/Iowa, the southwest to central Ohio Valley, the Interior Southeast and East/Southeast New England. So far in January, the dry zones have been the Northwest States and Texas. Fig. 2-4: Latest Climate Impact Company month 1-3 ahead U.S. precipitation forecasts. The latest Climate Impact Company 3-month U.S. precipitation anomaly forecast yields a wet pattern for February and March centered on the Tennessee Valley (Fig. 2-3). Above normal precipitation in this region during late winter/early spring is typical of a La Nina climate pattern. Although La Nina is weakening as defined by oceanic parameters, the La Nina climate is continuing and should extend through March to support the indicated forecast. During FEB/MAR, dryness is somewhat confined to California for both months and the immediate Gulf Coast and East Coast during March. The Northwest States are generally wetter than normal for FEB/MAR. In April, the forecast is made with below average confidence due to the uncertainty at that time of ENSO. The best estimate of mid-meteorological spring climate is a shift of wet weather from the Mid-south States to the North/Northeast Gulf of Mexico Coast (Fig. 4). The East turns wetter than normal. The Central Great Plains to Texas are dry and much of the West U.S. (except Washington) is also dry. Based on the monthly precipitation outlooks for the U.S. through April, the May 1st projected soil moisture regime by Climate Impact Company anticipates intense drought across Texas to Kansas and the central Great Basin (Fig. 5). Widespread dry conditions are spread across the southern 2/3 of California, the Interior West, Great Plains and Southeast Coast plus Florida. Wet soil conditions are confined to the southern Tennessee Valley plus northern Great Lakes and Maine. Fig. 5: Climate Impact Company U.S. soil moisture regime projection for May 1, 2023.