A Quiet Week
As expected, the weather is very quiet across the nation this week. An exception will be the Pacific Northwest where the rainy spell will persists over Northern California, Oregon, and Washington through much of the week.
Limited Midwest Drought Relief
The front that passed over the Midwest earlier this week produced an inch or so of rainfall. Here is an image showing where the heaviest rain fell. Areas shaded in green received 1.0 to 2.5 inches of rain. This continued the trend of drought relief in this region. Once again, as we have seen time and time again, rainfall tapered off as it moved further east into southern sections of Alabama and Georgia.
Persistent Rainfall Patterns
It might be of interest to take a look as some of the more regional trends in rainfall patterns since September 1st. I’d like to point out two, as they have had an impact on the drought. Taking a look at observed rainfall over the past 90 days, note the two white lines. One such gradient of rainfall extended from Birmingham, Alabama (wet) to Albany, Georgia (dry). During this period, Birmingham received 8 – 0.50” or more rain events compared to only 1 in Albany.
Another very noticeable difference in rainfall exists in the Midwest. Cape Girardeau, Missouri (wet) reported 9 – 0.50” rain events compared to Kansas City, Missouri which reported only 3.
These two persistent rainfall patterns – one from Arkansas, across southeast Missouri into Illinois, and another over parts of Mississippi and Alabama, have helped either eliminate or reduce drought impacts. However, just outside these regions of persistent and enhanced rainfall, drought impacts remain severe.
ENSO-Neutral conditons persist and are expected to continue through the winter season. The latest Nino 3.4 SSTAs are now in the +0.2C to +0.4C range.The first image below shows a plot of the NINO3.4 sea surface temperature index. The fading El Niño can clearly be seen with the index now solidly in a neutral range.
Climate models continue to forecast a continuation of ENSO-Neutral contions through the winter. This will likely make the winter forecast a lot more challenging than normal.