Latest Seasonal Assessment – Drought coverage remains extremely low nationwide, though it increased slightly since the last Seasonal Drought Outlook. Moderate drought expanded to cover northwestern Washington, and also spread into northwestern Oregon, the northern Idaho Panhandle, and adjacent areas. Moderate drought also expanded into a larger portion of the Southeast. Drought enveloped much of central and south Georgia, northern Florida, and the Carolina Coastline earlier in June, but heavy mid-month rainfall took some of these areas back out of drought. New regions of moderate drought were introduced in northern North Dakota and a few spots in southern Texas, but a vast majority of the contiguous U.S. remained drought-free. In fact, increased precipitation improved conditions in northern Wyoming and the Four Corners States, with drought now restricted to a stripe along the western New Mexico border. Outside the contiguous states, drought expanded into much of central and southern Puerto Rico during the past month. Moisture deficits also increased in the leeward areas of Hawaii, and drought now covers most of that region. The drought in the southern Alaska Panhandle intensified, and severe to extreme drought has been introduced in part of that area. Across the rest of the nation, the only other area in extreme drought is a small spot in the southernmost Big Island in Hawaii. Most of the drought areas across the nation are moderate in severity. Severe drought is restricted to isolated patches in southern Alabama and Georgia, part of northern North Dakota, a few leeward areas in Hawaii, and southeastern Alaska.
By the end of September, drought coverage should still be limited, but many current areas are expected to persist or expand. Drought coverage is expected to increase in the Northwest, the northern Plains, south Texas, and Puerto Rico. Furthermore, conditions should remain unchanged at best in leeward portions of Hawaii, the southern Alaska Panhandle, and parts of the central Carolina Coastline; however, drought removal is forecast for most other parts of the Southeast by the end of September, and the Four Corners States should be cleared of drought as well. Forecaster: Rich Tinker