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Aug. 15, 2019
NOAA released its 3-month seasonal outlooks Aug. 15 for September-October-November. NOAA is expecting temperatures to be above-normal from September through November for the entire country. While the likelihood of above-normal temperatures varies, the highest possibilities are for parts of the Southwest, New England, and Alaska.
The Precipitation Outlook for September through November shows the possibility of above-normal precipitation is most likely across the Florida Peninsula, mid-Atlantic, and extending from parts of the Southwest north to the northern Great Plains and upper Mississippi Valley.
The seasonal outlooks reflect the fact that we have started to transition out of El Niño and the models are going off of recent trends for precipitation and temperature over the last decade. In other words, El Niño is not expected to have much of an impact on circulation patterns and as a result the models weighed recent trends more heavily. In some ways this could be a good thing and may mean the 3-month outlooks are not necessarily a slam dunk.
The weather models are showing a ridge over the southwestern U.S. and a weak trough over the eastern part of the country. The ridge will likely favor a higher chance of near to above-normal temperatures throughout much of the country, except for parts of the Northern Plains. The highest chance of above-normal temperatures over the next two-weeks continues to be in the Southern Plains, Southern Rockies, the Southwest, and northern California.
U.S. Drought Monitor and the Seasonal Drought Outlook
The latest Drought Monitor was released Aug. 15 and continues to trend in the wrong direction for Texas and Oklahoma. Texas had an increase in the areas considered in drought of 12 percentage points from last week to this week, while Oklahoma saw an increase of 8 percentage points. Extreme Drought (D3), the second highest drought category, was introduced in South Texas for Webb, Jim Hogg, and Zapata Counties. The change to Extreme Drought in South Texas reflects the above-normal temperatures and large precipitation deficits for most of the spring and summer.
The 3-month Seasonal Drought Outlook was also released Aug. 15 and NOAA is expecting drought conditions in South Texas to continue to intensify from September through November. Drought is also expected to persist in in the Panhandle and Rolling Plains.
Looking at all the pieces of evidence here, it looks like things are going to get worse in the near-term. A lot can happen, though, in the next three months so stay tuned.