Latest Monthly Assessment -
During late January and the first three weeks of February 2018, dryness/drought worsened over much of California, the Great Basin, portions of the Four Corners region, the central and southern Plains (primarily), the Middle Mississippi Valley, and parts of the Southeast. The most significant deterioration was noted in the central and southern Plains, central and southern California, and southeastern Oregon. The U.S. drought outlook for March 2018 calls for drought to persist across most areas west of the Continental Divide. Unseasonably wet and cold conditions are expected across much of the West in March. However, since the Water-Year-To-Date season has been so dry and mild, leading to low snow packs, the anticipated surplus precipitation and subnormal temperatures most likely will not be enough to show marked improvement in Oregon and California, but should be enough to preclude any drought development there during March. Most forecast tools and March precipitation climatology favor drought persistence over the southern half of the High Plains region, with fairly regionalized areas of drought development expected in western Texas. Farther north, the official CPC precipitation outlook for March favors above normal precipitation over the northern Plains, supporting improvement and/or removal of drought across eastern Montana and nearby portions of the Dakotas. For the remainder of the Dakotas, it appears less likely that enough precipitation will be received to warrant an improvement in overall conditions. Elsewhere, precipitation received during the past few weeks, and the expected continuation of a wet pattern over the eastern portions of the southern Plains, the Lower and Middle Mississippi Valley, interior portions of the Southeast, and the Washington, D.C. vicinity, favor improvement and/or removal of drought. Drought persistence is considered most likely in south-central Virginia and near the eastern Gulf Coast, which is expected to be sufficiently distant from the primary storm track. Prospects for drought development are elevated for the Florida peninsula, southeastern Georgia, and along much of the South Carolina coast. There is currently no drought in Hawaii, Alaska, or Puerto Rico, and these regions are anticipated to remain drought-free throughout the month of March.
Forecaster: Anthony Artusa
Next Monthly Outlook issued: March 31, 2018 at 3 PM ET
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion