NOAA Updates Drought Monitor

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Southwest Drought Continues

Discussion: U.S. rainfall for the first week of meteorological winter was steep in Virginia (2-6 in. with locally higher amount), the Southeast U.S. (several in.) due to subtropical influences and parts of the Great Plains to North-Central U.S. due to thunderstorms. The Southwest U.S. was mostly dry enhancing the ongoing drought while rainfall in the East/Southeast squashed any dry soil areas. Intense drought remains in Arizona to the southwest Plains.

2-Week Outlook: The 15-day rainfall forecast by the most reliable model, the European Ensemble indicates more wet weather across the Upper Midwest, Ohio Valley, Southeast and East U.S. (Fig. 1). The drought in the Southwest receives minor thundershower activity.

Fig. 1: U.S. drought monitor is updated.

Outlook: There remains concern that during mid-summer the southwest/central Great Plains drought will expand to the west/south Corn Belt along with attendant heat. If this scenario occurs it would be of the “flash drought” character similar to what happened in Argentina during their past summer.