Latest Seasonal Assessment (NOAA CPC) - “ During the past four weeks, widespread heavy rain and mountain snowfall resulted in significant drought reductions across the Northwest. Drought relief also occurred across parts of northern California, the Great Basin, and the Desert Southwest. In contrast, drier than normal conditions promoted short term drought development across parts of the northern High Plains. East of the Mississippi, a potent winter storm removed all remaining drought areas across Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. While above-normal precipitation alleviated drought across northern New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania, moderate drought conditions persisted across southeastern New England and near Niagara Falls. During the next 3.5 months, El Niño conditions favor continued drought improvement or removal across southern Oregon, California, the Great Basin, and the Southwest, while an anticipated dry signal supports drought persistence across the Northwest. Despite this dry signal on the seasonal time scale, short range forecasts indicate heavy precipitation across the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West, which would likely limit additional drought development. Drought expansion becomes more likely across the eastern Rockies and adjacent High Plains, however, where incipient snowpack conditions are poorest and the ENSO signal is strongest. Forecasts favoring wetness at all time scales along the Eastern Seaboard make drought removal the most likely outcome across southeastern New England, while an eastward shifted storm track due to El Niño favors drought persistence near Niagara Falls. Continued drought expansion is likely across Hawaii due to the strong El Niño, while a wetter than normal dry season across Puerto Rico may support drought reductions in areas where drought conditions are less entrenched."
Forecaster: Adam Allgood and Brad Pugh
Next Monthly Drought Outlook issued: February 18, 2016 at 8:30 AM EST