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Latest Seasonal Assessment – Drought coverage continued to increase across the contiguous states during the past month, going from just over 26 percent in mid-December to 33 percent as of January 16, 2018. This increase was driven primarily by broad drought development through the south-central High Plains. West of this area, extant drought deteriorated through the rest of the Four Corners region, where continued dryness and warmth has led to areas of record- or near-record low snowpack. More limited drought expansion was observed in central Texas and the Middle Atlantic States. Drought improvement and contraction primarily occurred in the northern Rockies and parts of the lower Mississippi Valley. The general trend of increasing drought coverage should continue through the end of April, as most areas of drought are expected to persist, along with development forecast in parts of southern California, central Colorado, and the southern Plains. Some development is also expected in the Southeast, though the extent is more limited than in recent Drought Outlooks. Also, there is reduced confidence in the persistence forecast across the south-central Great Plains, lower Mississippi Valley, and Middle Atlantic States. Removal is forecast for the small areas of drought on parts of Kauai and the Big Island in Hawaii.
As originally published by Climate Prediction Center forecaster Rich Tinker
Original URL: http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/sdo_summary.php