High Plains Enter Warm Season in Severe Drought

Here we go again. Most of Nebraska in particular is in “extreme” drought already. This much of the US has been in drought in the past, but not often.

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The outlook for summer is abnormally warm nationwide with an indication of abnormally low precipitation in the southwestern plains centered near the Oklahoma panhandle.

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In Texas we’ve already started praying for a hurricane, which is not a good sign.


  1. Re that 3-month precip probability, note that the affected area is pretty much departing its wet season now, so the precip normal is pretty thin at the outset. A PDSI projection would probably be more useful, although note this is a persistence chart and so needs to be read along with the current PDSI one. Areas where extreme/exceptional conditions prevail now and overlap with the persistent area are going to be in sad shape. OK looks slightly better (perhaps less worse that it might have been would be a better phrase), but especially given its already-bad water supply situation NM begins to look like a disaster area.

    About ten years back there was much talk of a teleconnection between Arctic sea ice loss and Southwest drying, so is it possible we're seeing the effects of that now? (The long-term projection for the Southwest is for more drying, but the present drought isn't necessarily part of that drying.) I recently asked Jonathan Overpeck if this idea had been developed further, or if he thought we were seeing the teleconnection in action now, and he wasn't willing to say anything definite. I suppose the problem with a teleconnection is that it's just an apparent correlation without a clear mechanism, and maybe is just a matter of distinct consequences of warming with no particular relationship beyond that. But now we are indeed seeing a notable Southwest drought at the same time as a sharp sea ice reduction, so it will be interesting to see if the correlation holds over the next few years.

    It's a single location and so not terribly instructive, but anyone familar with Ukiah, CA will find this NWS Eureka tweet striking:

    Driest first 3 months of year for #Ukiah ever recorded. 4.05" so far in 2013 - 15.02 below normal! #cawx

  2. Pingback: Another Week in the Planetary Crisis, April 7, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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