No relief from drought expected in most of nation through October
Recent changes in U.S. drought conditions have worsened, and a majority of drought-affected regions are predicted to either persist or worsen by the end of October.
The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) of the National Weather Service (NWS) published its U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, which pointed out how, across the nation, most changes in drought conditions from the middle of June through the middle of July this summer have been for the worse.
In that approximate one-month span, drought intensified in various regions, including the Northeast, eastern Great Lakes region, upper Ohio Valley, western South Dakota and adjacent Wyoming, and in various locations across the Plains.
Looking ahead to the next few months and into October, the CPC expects current drought conditions to either linger or escalate across much of the country. Affected regions include the Northeast, Southeast, central Texas, the West, and the Intermountain West. The U.S. Intermountain Region is located between the Rocky Mountains on the east and the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada Range on the west.
— NWSCPC (@NWSCPC) July 21, 2016
Southwest is the exception
The notable exception from the forecasted worsening or persisting drought conditions is in the Southwest.
According to the CPC, the Southwest should see improvement in current drought regions as the monsoon season progresses. In southwest states like Arizona and New Mexico, monsoon storms typically start around early July and progress as the summer moves on.
Experts also forecast that some areas of the northern Plains, including parts of North Dakota and Montana, could see drought relief if the predicted above-normal precipitation occurs there.
Persistent drought can contribute to increased wildfire danger in many regions across the U.S. In June, the U.S. Forest Service reported the discovery of more than 70 million dead trees in the Southern Sierra Nevada, which, officials said, has increased the threat of wildfire there dramatically.
And with wildfire season already beginning with a vengeance, drought relief in the Southwest could have a great impact on the remaining portion of wildfire season.