Central U.S. Summer Drought Forecast Fading as Pattern Turns Wetter

Soaking Wet and Cool Great Plains/Midwest U.S. Ahead
04/28/2022, 3:38 pm EDT
May 2022 North Atlantic TC Seasonal Activity Forecast Update: La Nina continues – seasonal activity forecast increases.
05/03/2022, 9:26 am EDT
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Fig. 1-4: GFS rainfall forecast for U.S. AG Belt through the next 15 days.

Discussion: Drought concerns in the Great Plains for summer 2022 are fading as the soaking wet 10-day forecast across the Great Plains brings several to as much as 6 in. of rain from the Dakotas to the Southeast Great Plains/Mid-south States. Short-term issues include excessive rain driven by severe weather in the Southeast Great Plains to the Mid-south U.S. (Fig. 1). In the 6-10-day period a vigorous Interior West U.S. upper trough opens the Gulf of Mexico leading to a heavy rain event across the northern Great Plains and also Texas (Fig. 2). The wet weather pattern shifts eastward in the extended-range as most of the Great Plains turns drier (Fig. 3). The 15-day rainfall totals indicate heavy amount for the North-central and Southeast Great Plains (Fig. 4). Ongoing river flooding in eastern North Dakota is likely to intensify. The May 2022 U.S. soil moisture profile becomes a significant predictor of the JUN/JUL/AUG 2022 temperature/precipitation forecast. Right now, the trend is toward (much) wetter soils in the North-central to East-central States which correlates to suppressed heat risk and a wetter climate. The upper air catalyst leading to this change is a cooler East Pacific (Fig. 5) and warmer Gulf of Mexico (Fig. 6) which favors presence of a western U.S. trough (Fig. 7) opening up the Gulf of Mexico for a wet southerly fetch into the Central U.S.

Fig. 5-7: Northeast Pacific/Gulf of Mexico SSTA and CMC ENS 15-day upper air forecast.