Climate and Drought Outlook for the United States
The June 2020 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) update indicated that overall, combined oceanic and atmospheric conditions remained consistent with ENSO-neutral during May 2020. Over the next few months, ENSO-neutral is favored during the summer of 2020 (~60% chance) in the Northern Hemisphere. There are roughly equal chances (~40-50%) of La Niña or ENSO-neutral during autumn and winter of 2020-2021. To read more, click here.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) 2020 three-month outlook (from June through September) is forecasting above-average temperatures across nearly the entire United States. Portions of the Intermountain West are projected to have the highest probability of experiencing above-average temperatures (70 to 80 percent). Other areas in the West, Northeast, Florida and southern Alaska have 60 to 70 percent probabilities of above-average temperatures. No areas of the country are projected to experience below-average temperatures over the next three months. To view NOAA CPC updates, click here.
This map depicts the locations of below, near, or above normal temperatures during the three-month period of June through September 2020. (Map courtesy of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center).
The NOAA CPC three-month outlook also forecasts above-normal precipitation across nearly the entire eastern half of the United States, as well as southern Alaska. The Southeast and southwest Alaska are projected to have the highest probability of above normal rainfall (40 to 50 percent). In addition, the CPC expects an above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. CPC models forecast an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely (60% chance), followed by a 30% chance of near-normal. For the eastern and central Pacific hurricane regions, the CPC outlook projects a near- or below-normal season is most likely (75% total chance). To learn about potential Hurricane Outlooks around the country this year, read the 2020 Hurricane Outlook, NOAA Press Release here.
Conversely, below-normal precipitation is forecasted across most of the Northwest and Rocky Mountain region. The highest probability of below-average precipitation is projected in areas adjacent to the U.S. portion of the Rockies, which have a 40 to 50 percent chance of below-normal precipitation. The lack of precipitation in these areas is projected to trigger further development or intensification of drought conditions (see the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook below). To view an interactive map of NOAA’s Seasonal Climate Outlook, click here.
This map depicts the locations of below, near, or above precipitation during the three-month period of June through September 2020. (Map courtesy of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center).
According to the NOAA U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, covering June through September, existing drought conditions are expected to persist throughout states on the western half of the United States, including Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and the Dakotas. Further drought development is predicted to likely occur across many of these same states. It is projected that the rest of the areas previously under drought, notably areas in the South, will either improve or drought conditions will be alleviated entirely. To view the latest NOAA U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook map, click here.
This map depicts a nationwide outlook of seasonal drought during the period of June through September 2020. (Map courtesy of NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Climate Prediction Center).
The links below will direct you to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, which includes information on ENSO, climate and drought outlooks, as well as other forecasts and models.
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Seasonal Drought Outlook
- National Integrated Drought Information System: U.S. Drought Portal
- Climate Prediction Center ENSO (El Niño/La Niña-Southern Oscillation) Update
- NOAA Climate Prediction Center
- NOAA Climate Seasonal Media Release
Additional Information and Data