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Seasonal Drought Outlook | CLIMAS

 SW Climate Outlook

Seasonal Drought Outlook

(data through October 2013)
Data Source(s): NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC)

This summary is partially excerpted and edited from the July 18 Seasonal Drought Outlook technical
discussion produced by the NOAA-Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and written by forecaster R. Tinker.

Drought is expected to improve in coming months in eastern Arizona, all of New Mexico, and southern portions of Utah and Colorado (Figure 12). While precipitation historically wanes from August to October, conditions remain favorable and can be boosted by incursions of moisture from tropical storm activity in the eastern Pacific Ocean. On average, 35 to 45 percent of the annual precipitation across central and eastern Arizona, New Mexico, and south-central Colorado falls during this 3-month period.

Drought improvement is also favored because the 6- to 10-day and 8- to 14-day forecasts indicate increased chances for above-average precipitation. The seasonal forecasts for August and the August–October period also indicate elevated chances for above-average precipitation in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. The CPC assigns a high confidence in the forecast for drought improvement from central Arizona east across New Mexico, and a moderate confidence elsewhere.

Across the Intermountain West and the northern half of the Rockies, the CPC expects drought to persist. The 6- to 10-day forecasts favor below-average precipitation in northern sections of the Intermountain West and Rockies. Historically, August–October tends to be dry across northern sections of Utah and Nevada, and throughout Idaho. The CPC assigns a high confidence for this forecast in northern regions of the Intermountain West and Great Plains.


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.