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Published November 21, 2012
Seasonal Drought Outlook(through February 2013)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
Since the beginning of November, a few storms have delivered up to 2 inches of precipitation over parts of the Four Corners region, with heavier amounts reported over higher elevations. While these quantities help improve short-term drought conditions, below-average precipitation is still widespread over the longer time period. A drier pattern is expected in the next two weeks, according to weather forecasts. For longer-term forecasts, the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center’s (CPC) December outlook calls for equal chances that rain and snow will be either below or above average. During the January–March period, however, the CPC notes increased chances for below-average precipitation. El Niño, which had been forecasted to develop in previous months, is now unlikely to develop, and this switch, in addition to other drying signals, suggests that drought in the Southwest will persist and may even intensify in coming months (Figure 11). The CPC assigns a moderate confidence to this outlook.
other regions in the West, the CPC assigns equal chances that the Upper Colorado River and Rio Grande basins will receive either above- or below-average rain and snow. These areas are currently experiencing severe to extreme drought, and uncertainty in the precipitation outlook leads to a forecast for drought persistence.
The delineated areas in the Seasonal Drought Outlook are defined subjectively and are based on expert assessment of numerous indicators, including the official precipitation outlooks, various medium- and short-range forecasts , models such as the 6-10 day and 8-14 day forecasts, soil moisture tools, and climatology.
For more information, visit::
For medium- and short-range forecasts, visit::
For soil moisture tools, visit::
Southwest Climate Outlook Staff
- Michael Crimmins, UA Extension Specialist
- Stephanie Doster, Institute of the Environment Editor
- Gregg Garfin, Founding Editor, Institute of the Environment
- Zack Guido, Managing Editor, CLIMAS Associate Staff Scientist
- Nancy J. Selover, Arizona State Climatologist
- Jessica Dollin, CLIMAS Publications Assistant
- Dave Dubois, New Mexico State Climatologist
Please direct your Southwest Climate Outlook comments and suggestions to Zack Guido.
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