Climate and Drought Outlook for the United States
The March 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 February 2020. Over the next few months, ENSO-neutral is favored during the spring of 2020 (~65% chance) and expected to continue through the summer of 2020 (~55% chance) in the Northern Hemisphere. To read more, click here.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center 2020 Spring Outlook (from March through June) is forecasting above-average temperatures across nearly the entire United States. South Texas and northern Alaska are projected to have the highest probability of experiencing above-average temperatures (60 to 70 percent), while most of the Southwest, Southeast, and Northeast U.S. have a 50 to 60 percent probability of above-average temperatures. No areas of the country are projected to experience below-average temperatures during the spring. To view NOAA Climate Center Prediction updates, click here.
This map depicts the locations of below, near, or above normal temperatures during the spring period of March through June 2020. (Map courtesy of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center).
Additionally, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center Spring Outlook is forecasting above-normal precipitation in the central and eastern United States, as well as northern Alaska. Midwestern states, such as Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, are projected to have the highest probability of above-average precipitation (50 to 60 percent). Significant rainfall events could potentially trigger flooding events in areas that are already experiencing saturated soils.
In contrast, below-normal precipitation is forecasted across most of the Northwest and Southwest. The highest probability of below-average precipitation is projected in Oregon and parts of northern California and Nevada, which have a 50 to 60 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 spring period of March through June 2020. (Map courtesy of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center).
According to the NOAA U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, covering March through June, existing drought conditions are expected to persist in areas of Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Florida. Further drought development is predicted to likely occur in many of these same states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and Florida. It is projected that the rest of the areas previously under drought 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 March through June 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