The severe drought over parts of the West could worsen and spread east over the next month and, perhaps, into winter. These forecasts are important for agricultural and water management purposes.
Current Drought Conditions
Here is the current status of drought in the United States. The first map should be considered valid everywhere except along the West Coast.
The Palmer Index (above) methodology does not work well along the West Coast. The map below should be used in the far West.
With the La Nina (area of cold water in the equatorial Pacific west of South America), the Northwest is typically wet while the southern half of the U.S.A. is dry in late autumn and winter. Here is the rainfall forecast for the next seven days. Note that much of the west half of the nation is dry.
The 8 to 14 day rainfall outlook continues the dryness and expands it.
And, while I am not generally a fan of the 3 to 4 week outlook, it is more of the same with below normal precipitation over most of the nation (brown). There are reasons to believe it is correct, unfortunately.
While monthly and seasonal precipitation forecasts have limited to no skill, with a La Nina in place, this forecast for the month of October has a better than average chance of being correct.
Will the current drought will east in the Northwest, I’m concerned this pattern will last into winter and with serious effects, especially in the High Plains and West.