For official long range forecasts, go to The Climate Prediction Center.
(Click on images for a larger version)
Since the last posting on May 9, 2014, there have finally been small signs of what I've been expecting. Although not everyone received precipitation, or at least a substantial amount, there were definitely areas that received copious amounts of rainfall.
Unfortunately, there are still many locations that have not received much rain. Therefore, the drought continues and in fact has intensified as we get deeper into the warm season. But, areas of west Texas and eastern New Mexico did receive substantial rains and that, hopefully, will help it to green up which will have an impact of the high plains of Kansas later this summer.
Picking just one site, in the case Dodge City, shows how the deficit of precipitation keeps growing. Keep in mind that parts of Ford County and Dodge City received very heavy rainfall on Mothers Day (May 11).
Without that rainfall the growing deficit at Dodge would be so much greater! The graph above shows the accumulated precipitation for Water Year 2014, or from October 1, 2013 through the current date.
The next graph illustrates just how bad it is getting (and it's a lot worse at other locations). This graph shows the accumulated precipitation since October 1, 2010 through the current date (or WY 10 through WY14).
However, one of the biggest disappointments of this trend is the lack of widespread heavy rainfall that SHOULD have occurred this past 10 days of May. An upper low formed over northern California on May 19th and it has taken 10 full days to reach northern Louisiana. The track and position should have brought a copious amount of rainfall to a very large part of the central and southern Plains. Indeed there were many locations that did receive a bunch of rain, and some that had excessive rainfall. But the rest of us? Puzzling.
One of the long range computer models (CFSv2) has been very persistent and consistent in forecasting at least normal if not way above normal rainfall into July. This model generates an outlook based on current conditions and is run several times after changing initial conditions slightly.
The graphic below shows the wettest run of the CFSv2 based on data from upper air soundings on May 29. As you can see, it is VERY wet! The second map shows the average of all the runs based on the same data.
Again, this computer model has been very, very consistent in this type of output.
Finally, you may have heard about an El Nino developing and even developing into a super Nino. Hold on, there is more to the story. So far it has been a major struggle for the event to even start. I don't like the trend.
The green trend on the graph above should be dropping to well below zero. So far, it's not! There are very warm waters just north of Australia and this may prevent a coupling of the oceanic warm waters in the western Pacific basin. What that means that IF an El Nino develops this fall and winter, it may not be that strong. That could have impacts on the western U.S. and southern states, which in turn would impact weather in Kansas. We need to root for a decent El Nino as all major recorded droughts in the plains states have been broken by such an event. Computer models still indicate that one will develop later in the year and into next - the stronger the better I believe.
I'll update again after June 15th.