NOAA Weather Trends Assessment
Since the previous outlook issued during mid-December, a large expansion of drought occurred across the Pacific Northwest with drought intensification throughout California. These drought changes are associated with a lack of precipitation along the West Coast during a wet time of year. Drought conditions generally remained steady during the past month across the Midwest and Great Plains, while abnormal dryness
is nearly eliminated from the Southeast.
The drought outlook valid from January 16 – April 30, 2014 is based primarily on short-, medium-, and long-range forecasts, and initial conditions. Drought is expected to worsen during the latter half of January across the Pacific Northwest. The poor start to the wet season with large precipitation deficits and very low snow-water equivalent values is likely to result in a continuation of drought through the end of April. Therefore, drought persistence is forecast for the Pacific Northwest. Forecast confidence is high for drought persistence or intensification across California due to the extremely dry initial conditions (snow-water equivalent values in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the lowest 5th percentile as of mid-January) and below-median precipitation favored in the CPC monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks. Meanwhile, across the interior West and Southwest, drought persistence or development is consistent with the CPC monthly and seasonal precipitation outlooks.
Forecaster: B. Pugh
Next Seasonal Drought Outlook issued: February 20, 2014 at 8:30 AM EDT