The new CPC spring forecasts are in

Our ST front page carries the story on today's Climate Prediction Center outlooks for April-May-June. Overall looks like more of the same.

>> More information (CPC)

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So it hasn't changed much since the previous run made in Feb for the same period (April ~ June). Not good! :p
But they have been wrong before. For instance, back in late August to September last year, they were predicting a very wet and somewhat warm winter for the mid south (TX, OK, AR). And we know how that turned out! Temps were mostly normal to above, precipitation MUCH below normal.
Here's my theory: if they forecast below normal precipitation, they are mostly right; if they forecast above normal precipitation, they are mostly wrong ;).
 
Fine with me; I'd rather chase NE Nebraska anyway! :D

More seriously, we'll hafta see what the drought situation is by May. Unless AZ gets dumped on in April as in '99, you're going to see some hardcore 850-700mb thermonuclear capping advecting in to the southern and central Plains. Not good. We'll need a persistent Bermuda High to compensate.
 
No problem, just looks like we'll be chasing in Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa again. That worked out OK in 2004 :)
 
Should I cancel my first chasing to States? :lol: With experiences here in Europe where usually such long term forecasts looks like a guess it doesn't bother me too much.
 
Don't forget to think about chasing in Canada, either. We had some nice ones up here last year, and you know you'll always be welcome B)
 
Bad news in New Mexico too. We are suffering thru one of the worst droughts in recorded history. This year is much drier than 2000 when most of Northern New Mexico suffered thru terrible fires. Current snowpack is at levels not seen since BEFORE 1950....or perhaps ever! Last weeks storm did little to lessen the grip of the current drought.....mainly it just settled the dust.

Image courtesy of ABQ NWS:

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Don't forget to think about chasing in Canada, either. We had some nice ones up here last year, and you know you'll always be welcome B)
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I think my part of Canada is more than over due for a major event. However, since '04 and '05 were both rather fairly active this year may end up being a dud.
 
I see the CPC has ND and MN cooler than normal, likely a result of the increased precip expected. Perhaps the firing line will be in the north and if so I'll venture into Canuckville... that is assuming this current cold core of crud leaves sometime before July. It's a balmy -1F at the airport in Grand Forks, ND
 
Bad news in New Mexico too. We are suffering thru one of the worst droughts in recorded history. This year is much drier than 2000 when most of Northern New Mexico suffered thru terrible fires. Current snowpack is at levels not seen since BEFORE 1950....or perhaps ever! Last weeks storm did little to lessen the grip of the current drought.....mainly it just settled the dust.

Image courtesy of ABQ NWS:

nmsnowpack.JPG

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In response to the image, that seems to me like the pattern that you would typically see. For the most part, conditions are below normal, at least in terms of long range climatology. Now, I see that this year's snowpack has been even lower than recent below-normal snowpack years...and I'm not saying that you've done this...but if one were to base a drought solely on the much below-normal snowpack, then they would be mistaken.

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There is a little good news for Oklahoma and Texas, though. Forecast rainfall totals for this weekend are for upwards of 3+ inches; more rain than most have seen in the past 6 months.
 
In response to the image, that seems to me like the pattern that you would typically see. For the most part, conditions are below normal, at least in terms of long range climatology. Now, I see that this year's snowpack has been even lower than recent below-normal snowpack years...and I'm not saying that you've done this...but if one were to base a drought solely on the much below-normal snowpack, then they would be mistaken.

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There is a little good news for Oklahoma and Texas, though. Forecast rainfall totals for this weekend are for upwards of 3+ inches; more rain than most have seen in the past 6 months.
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Snowpack is definitely just one aspect of the drought. But, when valleys beneath the mountains almost rely completely on spring/summer runoff for agriculture and general water needs, given the 2006 snowpack when compared with what would "normally" be seen, it is understandable why the lack of snowpack is given prominence in drought news and reporting . Here is another snipet from the ABQ nws:

"Another way to assess the long-term drought is to look at the percentiles for longer times scale. In general, percentiles provide a good measure of how rare conditions are. Percentiles greater than 50 indicate the area has been wetter than average. Drought is associated with the lower percentiles. Percentiles less than the 11th are usually associated with “Emergencyâ€￾ designations in New Mexico. Percentiles from 11th to 20th are consistent with drought “warningâ€￾ designations. The 21st to 30th percentiles are associated with drought “alerts,â€￾ and the 31st to 40th percentiles are consistent with “heads upâ€￾ advisories. Table 3 shows the 4 month and 60 month period percentile averages for the eight climate divisions in New Mexico. Values at or below the 20th percentile are shown in bold figures. When considering the climate divisions, it is apparent from table 3 that all sections of the state are experiencing significant short-term drought. In addition, long-term drought is apparent in climate divisions 2 and 6. These regions include the northern
mountains of New Mexico as well as the central highlands, from just east of the Sandia Mountains southward into the Capitan and Sacramento Mountains."

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You can see that when taking into account longer time scales, the Northern Mountains and Central Highlands are in a desperate drought situation. And, since southern New Mexico relys on rivers filled with runoff from northern New Mexico mountains, the whole state is affected.
 
There is no doubt that across the south-southwestern US the drought is bad and only getting worse. With as far below average the precipitation has been, it will take a lot of steady soaking rainfall...and even better, but less likely, long lasting snow cover to help the area recover.

...Here's a question...

I'm a transplant to Oklahoma from Michigan. Did NM (and perhaps TX/OK) have a very wet period in the early 2000s? The long range percentiles you posted, with the exception of a few areas (mainly Central NM, some of Western NM) were still in the mid-40s...
 
...Here's a question...

I'm a transplant to Oklahoma from Michigan. Did NM (and perhaps TX/OK) have a very wet period in the early 2000s? The long range percentiles you posted, with the exception of a few areas (mainly Central NM, some of Western NM) were still in the mid-40s...
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In general the period from 1978-1993 was a wet one in New Mexico. Since then, however, we have had an overall reverse and much of the state has experienced precipication levels that are several deviations less than normal. To me it seems we are in a period similar to the 1950s when devastating droughts gripped the SW & OK/TX.

Last year was an excellent water year in almost the entirety of NM. Snowpack was overall above average and the eastern plains and SW parts of the state were well above climate normals for precipitation. This year is a complete 180.

But I guess this is what climate change is all about...greater variability on short-time scales.
 
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