Latest Monthly Assessment -
Based on the U.S. Drought Monitor, drought coverage across the contiguous U.S. (CONUS) peaked at 62.95 percent during late October 2022. Since that time, drought coverage and intensity have steadily decreased across much of the West, northern Great Plains, Midwest, Tennessee and Ohio Valleys. The coverage of severe (D2) to exceptional (D4) drought is at its lowest since August 2020. Based on an above-average snowpack and the April outlook favoring above-normal precipitation over the northwestern CONUS and below-normal temperatures, continued drought improvement or removal is forecast for northern California, Oregan and northern Idaho. Due to lack of wet signals in the forecasts and below-normal snowpack, drought persistence is likely over western Montana. Broad-scale improvement/removal is favored for parts of the northern and central Great Plains, central High Rockies and western Midwest due to above-normal snowpack, areas trending to its wet climatology and a favorable time of year for soil moisture recharge. Broad-scale persistence is also the most likely outcome for a majority of the ongoing drought across parts of the southwestern CONUS, central and southern Great Plains, and the Southeast, due to lack of wet signals in the forecasts and also April is a relatively dry time of year. Improvement or removal is likely for parts of central-eastern Texas and southeastern Michigan with predicted above-normal precipitation for April. Below-normal precipitation in March and low streamflow were observed over the Delmarva, and persistence/development is expected over these areas, including eastern portions of North Carolina. Alaska and Hawaii are likely to remain drought-free through the end of April. Drought persistence is also likely for Puerto Rico.
Forecaster: Yun Fan
Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: April 30, 2023 at 3 PM EDT
Monthly Drought Outlook Discussion