Latest Seasonal Assessment – La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific transitioned to ENSO-neutral during Spring 2012. With ENSO-neutral conditions expected to continue through the June-August period, ENSO-related climate anomalies did not factor significantly into this outlook. Over the previous several weeks, widepsread soaking rains eased drought conditions in southwestern Texas and southeastern New Mexico, and a slow moving storm system brought relief to much of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. Widespread rainfall across the upper Midwest also reduced existing drought conditions. In contrast, a combination of abnormal dryness and heat sparked rapid drought development across the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, while near-record heat across the Southeast was interrupted by hit and miss thunderstorm activity. During the upcoming three month period, drought persistence is expected across the Great Basin and central Rockies due to a dry climatology, while the onset of the monsoon season may bring some relief to portions of the Southwest. Wet short and middle range forecasts and a rainy climatology increase prospects for improvement across the upper Midwest, while persistence is expected across the southern Plains and Mississippi Valley. In the Southeast, seabreeze convective activity will likely bring drought relief to Florida and coastal areas, but summer convection – outside of any tropical cyclone activity – is less likely to significantly reduce entrenched and exceptional drought conditions in the Piedmont. Summer thunderstorms may bring some relief to the drought areas of the Northeast.

Forecaster: A. Allgood