Drought - November 2013


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Issued 17 December 2013
Contents Of This Report:
Map showing Palmer Z Index

Please note that the values presented in this report are based on preliminary data. They will change when the final data are processed, but will not be replaced on these pages.


National Drought Overview

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Detailed Drought Discussion

Overview

The upper-level circulation during November was generally westerly with many wiggles, or troughs and ridges, and an occasional cut-off low, migrating through the very active flow. The troughs and lows dragged cold fronts and weather systems which spread rain and snow across parts of the CONUS. The amount of precipitation during the first three weeks (weeks 1, 2, 3), however, was below normal for much of the country. During the last half of the month (weeks 3 and 4), a slow-moving cut-off low and trough tapped Pacific moisture to bring heavy rain and snow to the Southwest, and entrained Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic moisture to dump widespread rain across the Deep South and up the East Coast. When integrated over the month, November 2013 had above-normal precipitation in the Southwest, but only patchy areas of above-normal precipitation east of the Rockies. Precipitation largely missed the Northern Plains, and, although weather systems moved across the West Coast and Northwest and into the Northern Rockies, the precipitation they dropped totaled well below normal for the month. Much of Alaska was wetter than normal, except for the southern stations which had a mixed precipitation anomaly pattern, and Hawaii was drier than normal except for Oahu and part of Maui, which were wetter than normal. When integrated across the country, November ranked near the middle of the historical record at 51st driest. The wet conditions in the Southwest, Midwest, and Central and Southern Great Plains helped reduce drought coverage in those regions. In spite of the late-month precipitation, drought and abnormal dryness expanded in the Northeast and drought was introduced, and abnormally dry conditions expanded, in the Southeast. Drought also contracted in Alaska and Hawaii. The national drought footprint shrank 6.1 percent to 25.7 percent of the U.S. as a whole, according to USDM statistics. According to the Palmer Drought Index, which goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, 16.1 percent of the CONUS was in moderate to extreme drought at the end of November, an increase of about 2.7 percent compared to last month.

The U.S. Drought Monitor drought map valid December 3, 2013
The U.S. Drought Monitor drought map valid December 3, 2013.

By the end of the month, the core drought areas in the U.S. included:

  • a large area of drought in the West consisting of moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought with pockets of extreme (D3) to exceptional (D4) drought;
  • areas of moderate to severe drought, with pockets of extreme to exceptional drought, from the Southern Plains to Central Plains, connected to the western drought by a bridge of moderate to extreme drought across the Southwest;
  • moderate to severe drought in the Midwest;
  • moderate drought in the coastal Northeast; and
  • Hawaii, where moderate to extreme drought persisted.

Palmer Drought Index

The Palmer drought indices measure the balance between moisture demand (evapotranspiration driven by temperature) and moisture supply (precipitation). The Palmer Z Index depicts moisture conditions for the current month, while the Palmer Hydrological Drought Index (PHDI) and Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) depict the current month's cumulative moisture conditions integrated over the last several months. While both the PDSI and PHDI indices show long-term moisture conditions, the PDSI depicts meteorological drought while the PHDI depicts hydrological drought. The PDSI map shows less severe drought in the West than the PHDI map because the meteorological conditions that produce drought have lessened over much of the West but the hydrological impacts of the drought linger.

Palmer Z Index map Palmer Hydrological Drought Index map

Used together, the Palmer Z Index and PHDI maps show that short-term dry conditions occurred during November over parts of the Northwest which had areas in long-term wet spell conditions during October, resulting in less moist long-term conditions and some expansion of drought by the end of November. Short-term dry conditions also occurred during November over parts of the West (California, Idaho), continuing or intensifying the long-term dry conditions in those areas. Near-normal to wet short-term conditions occurred during November over the Southwest long-term drought areas, improving conditions (PHDI maps for November vs. October).


Standardized Precipitation Index

The Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) measures moisture supply. The SPI maps here show the spatial extent of anomalously wet and dry areas at time scales ranging from 1 month to 24 months.

1-month Standardized Precipitation Index 2-month Standardized Precipitation Index 3-month Standardized Precipitation Index

The SPI maps illustrate how moisture conditions have varied considerably through time and space over the last two years. The 1-month SPI map shows considerable areas of dryness during November along much of the West Coast and in the Northern Rockies and Northern Plains, and areas of wetness in the Southwest and parts of the Great Lakes, Lower Mississippi Valley, and Southeast. The dryness in the Northern Plains is replaced by wet conditions starting at two months. The dry conditions in the Northwest persist into two months, disappear at three to six months, then partially reappear beginning at nine months. The dryness in the Northern to Central Rockies (Wyoming) is replaced by wetness at two to three months, near normal to wet conditions at six to 12 months, then dry conditions at 24 months. For the Southern Rockies (Colorado, New Mexico), wet conditions dominate at three to 12 months, but dryness is evident at 24 months. The fall storms and the summer monsoon gave the Southwest generally wet conditions from one to 12 months, and were even enough to overcome 2-year deficits with near normal to slightly dry conditions prevalent at 24 months. Parts of the Central to Southern Plains are near normal to wet at one to 12 months, but near normal to dry at 24 months, except areas around the Texas panhandle which are dry at most time scales. The Midwest (Iowa, Missouri) is near normal to wet at one to three months, very dry at six months, wet at nine to 12 months, then near normal at 24 months. The Southeast and Northeast are near normal to wet at one month, generally near normal to dry at two to three months, wet at six to 12 months, then near normal to wet at 24 months.


6-month Standardized Precipitation Index 12-month Standardized Precipitation Index 24-month Standardized Precipitation Index


Agricultural, Hydrological, and Meteorological Indices and Impacts

USDA statewide topsoil moisture percentages short or very short
USDA statewide topsoil moisture percentages short or very short
USGS monthly streamflow percentiles
USGS monthly streamflow percentiles

Drought conditions were reflected in numerous agricultural, hydrological, and other meteorological indicators, both observed and modeled. Satellite observations (references 1, 2) showed vegetative stress continuing in parts of the West and Southern Plains. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as of December 3rd, 34 percent of the domestic cattle inventory, 30 percent of winter wheat, 29 percent of corn acreage, 21 percent of hay acreage, and 20 percent of soybean acreage were in drought. These percentages are less than the corresponding percentages from a month ago. As of November 24th, the USDA reported that eight percent of the winter wheat crop was rated in poor to very poor condition, nationally, which was a slight increase compared to a month ago. Topsoil moisture was rated by the USDA on November 24th as short or very short of moisture for half or more of the state in Rhode Island (82%), South Carolina (69%), New Mexico (62%), Florida (51%), and Connecticut (50%), but the storm during the last week of the month improved soil moisture conditions in the East, while soils continued dry in parts of the Midwest, Southern Plains, and West (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 13).

The lack of precipitation during November (33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 45) across much of the West and parts of the Plains and Midwest was reflected in few rain days, long runs of consecutive dry days, and reduced streamflow (17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 25). Early season snowstorms brought a near- to above-normal snow pack to the Rocky Mountain states, especially the Southern Rockies and Southwest, but snow water content was well below normal across much of the Pacific Northwest, California, and Nevada (61, 62, 63, 64). Some of the snowstorms moved east of the Rockies, laying down above-average snow cover for parts of the Plains, Upper Midwest, and Northeast.

Precipitation for the water year to date (October 1 to present) was below normal for much of the West, in spite of recent storm systems, as well as parts of the Southern and Central Plains and much of the Southeast and Northeast (52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 59). Dry weather dominated the last three months across the East and from the Southern Plains to Upper Midwest, and the last five months across the Midwest. The last eleven months have been predominantly dry for the Pacific Northwest, Nevada, and especially California, where 2013 has been the driest year (through November) in the 1895-2013 record. The impact of these long-term precipitation deficits was manifested in low groundwater (26, 27, 28, 29) and spring water levels in some areas, as well as low reservoirs in many western states.


Regional Discussion

Hawaii: Precipitation for November 2013 was below normal for most of the stations in Hawaii, the exception being stations on Oahu. Drier-than-normal conditions were especially prevalent during the last two to three months. Rainfall earlier in the year lessened the deficits at some stations (last 5, 6, 8, and 11 months), but it was not enough to overcome dryness at longer time scales (last 12, 24, 36 months). The moderate to extreme drought area shrank this month (52.1%) compared to last month, but streamflow continued below normal on the Big Island.

Alaska: Pacific weather systems brought above-normal precipitation to most Alaskan stations, and an above-normal snow pack (65, 66) to some stations and basins, during November. Precipitation during the last several months has benefited most of the state except the panhandle (last 2, 3, and 5 months). Dryness is evident at the panhandle stations and some interior stations at longer time scales (6, 8, 11, 12, 24, and 36 months). Moderate (D1) drought shrank to 0.44 percent of the state on the USDM map, with D0 (abnormally dry conditions) and a small spot of D1 lingering in the interior to reflect long-term dryness, and D0 added to the southern panhandle reflecting below-normal precipitation and low reservoir levels (Black Bear Lake dam was about 2 feet below normal, Tyee reservoir 10 feet below normal, and Swan Lake reservoir 15 feet below normal).

Puerto Rico: November was drier than normal for southeastern Puerto Rico, which has been persistently below normal for the last two to three months. The drier-than-normal areas shifted to the south central sections by 6 to 11 months. D0 was added to the southeast and south central sections on the USDM map to reflect the recent dryness and lowering stream levels.

CONUS State Ranks:

Current month state precipitation ranks Percent of normal precipitation for the U.S. for November 1-21, 2013

The November precipitation anomaly pattern of dryness in the West and Northern Plains was reflected in the state ranks, with Wyoming having the eleventh driest November and seven other states falling in the driest third of the historical record. The monthly precipitation anomaly pattern was mixed in the Central and Southern Plains to the East with most states ranking near the middle of the historical record (near normal). But the first three weeks of the month (weeks 1, 2, 3, 4) were very dry from the Southern Plains to Southeast and up the East Coast. This month illustrates the importance of one slow-moving storm system on the monthly precipitation totals. The SPI measures water supply while the Standardized Precipitation Evaporation Index (SPEI) incorporates temperature as a measure of water demand. The temperature pattern of below normal anomalies in the East and above normal anomalies in the Southwest had little effect on evapotranspiration (water demand) due to the time of year, with the SPEI pattern similar to the SPI pattern.

Current 3-month state precipitation ranks Fall storm systems during the last three months (September-November 2013) brought above-normal precipitation to the Southwest to Northern Plains, but they largely missed California, which had the tenth driest autumn in the 1895-2013 record. The Midwest, Southeast, and coastal Northeast were also drier than normal, with twelve states ranking in the driest third of the historical record. September-November 2013 temperatures were cooler than normal in the East but mostly in the middle of the historical record (near normal) for the rest of the country, having little effect on water demand, with the SPEI pattern similar to the SPI pattern.

Current 6-month state precipitation ranks Iowa statewide precipitation, July-November, 1895-2013

Wet conditions dominated the last six months, with California and the Midwest being the major drier-than-normal regions. Only four states ranked in the driest third of the historical record, including Iowa which had the ninth driest June-November. Since June was a near- to wetter-than-normal month in the Midwest, the dryness really started in July, with Iowa having the seventh driest July-November. The warmer-than-normal temperatures for this period in the West resulted in a drier SPEI there than the SPI.

Year-to-date state precipitation ranks California statewide precipitation, January-November, 1895-2013

For the year to date (January-November 2013), parts of the Southern and Central Plains and Northeast were drier than normal, but dryness dominated much of the West. However, wetness dominated the country on the January-November state rank map. Four states in the West ranked in the driest third of the historical record, including Oregon at tenth driest and California which had the driest January-November on record. With warmer-than-normal temperatures, evapotranspiration was enhanced, making the January-November SPEI more extreme than the SPI in the West. The statewide precipitation ranks for the past 12 months (December 2012-November 2013) are similar to those for the last 11 months, with three states (California at fourth driest, Oregon, and Idaho) ranking in the driest third of the historical record.

Western U.S.


Percent area of the Western U.S. in moderate to extreme drought, January 1900 to present, based on the Palmer Drought Index
Percent area of the Western U.S. in moderate to extreme drought, January 1900 to present, based on the Palmer Drought Index.

Dry weather dominated the West during November, except for a mid-month storm which brought above-normal precipitation to parts of the Southwest (weeks 1, 2, 3, 4). Water-year-to-date (October 1-present) precipitation was below normal in most areas (52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59), although the snow pack and snow water content was near normal in the Northern Rockies to above normal in the Southern Rockies (61, 62, 63, 64). For the region as a whole (from the Rockies to West Coast), November 2013 ranked 30th driest, September-November 2013 42nd wettest, and the year-to-date ranked tenth driest and 30th warmest. According to the USDM, 50.0 percent of the West was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of November, a drop of about 3.6 percent compared to last month. The Palmer Drought Index percent area statistic was 35.8 percent, an increase of about 9 percent from last month.


Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Agricultural Belt


Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt precipitation, current month, 1895-2013
Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt precipitation, current month, 1895-2013.
Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt precipitation, growing season to date, 1895-2013
Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt precipitation, growing season to date, 1895-2013.

The November precipitation pattern for the Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat agricultural belt varied across the region but was generally drier than normal, with November 2013 ranking 56th driest and 41st coolest region-wide. The growing season to date (October 1-present) ranked as the 60th driest and 34th coolest October-November. However, long-term dryness lingered, with the PHDI and USDM indicating pockets of severe to extreme drought in the western sections.

NOAA Regional Climate Centers:


A more detailed drought discussion, provided by the NOAA Regional Climate Centers and others, can be found below.

SoutheastSouthMidwestNortheastHigh Plains
WestPacific Islands

As described by the High Plains Regional Climate Center, after an eventful couple of months in the High Plains region, November 2013 was fairly quiet. Temperatures were generally within 2.0 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) of normal and heavier precipitation was confined to just a few areas. This was good news for producers across the region. Early in the month, grain moisture levels were a bit high, which slowed harvest activities. However, the drier conditions later on helped producers get back out into the fields to finish up their harvest and begin preparing for winter. Overall, temperatures were near to below normal in the east and near to above normal in the west.

After two extreme precipitation months, the High Plains region got a bit of a break. One of the impacts of the heavy precipitation in previous months was a recovery in soil moisture in many of the affected areas -- especially in the Dakotas and Wyoming. At this time of the year it is highly unlikely that the soils will dry out so they will consequently retain their moisture throughout the winter. With this in mind, some may be wondering about the potential for spring flooding. Luckily, it is very early in the season and there is a long way to go in terms of precipitation accumulations (both snow and rain). These conditions will continue to be monitored as the season progresses. Taking a look at November, the High Plains region was fairly dry with large areas receiving less than 50 percent of normal precipitation. Since precipitation during this time of the year is generally light, large deficits did not occur. Some locations within the dry areas ranked in the top 10 driest Novembers on record. Rock Springs, Wyoming only received 0.03 inch (1 mm) of precipitation which tied with 2007 as the 4th driest November on record (period of record 1948-2013). The driest November occurred in both 1974 and 1976 when only a Trace amount of precipitation was received. Areas receiving above normal precipitation included the panhandle of Nebraska, south-central Colorado, and a swath running from the southwest corner of Kansas into southeastern Nebraska. The precipitation totals in the wetter areas of Nebraska and Kansas varied from just above normal to 200 percent of normal, while south-central Colorado had precipitation totals which topped 300 percent of normal.

Drought conditions in the High Plains region changed only slightly over the past month, according to the USDM. Approximately 19 percent of the region was in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought at the end of the month, which was a slight decrease from 22 percent at the end of October. These improvements occurred in western Wyoming and northwestern Colorado where D1 was eliminated. Severe (D2), extreme (D3), and exceptional (D4) drought conditions persisted across southeastern Colorado, western Kansas, and west-central Nebraska. The only improvement in those categories occurred in eastern Wyoming where a small area of D2 was eliminated. Luckily, the only degradation was the increase in abnormally dry conditions from 51 percent to 55 percent coverage. This increase in dryness occurred in eastern Kansas where hydrologic and agricultural impacts were being realized.

As explained by the Southern Regional Climate Center, November precipitation totals in the Southern region varied from below normal in northern states of Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, to slightly above normal in the central portions of the region. The latter included western and central Mississippi, southern Arkansas, eastern Texas and parts of northern Louisiana. Conditions were quite wet in the southern counties of the Texas Trans Pecos climate division and in the extreme south of Texas.

Drought conditions over the month of November changed only slightly in Texas; however, significant changes were observed in Louisiana and Mississippi, which were considered drought free as of November 26, 2013. Similar improvements were also observed in Arkansas, where just a small area of moderate drought remained. In central and eastern Texas, significant precipitation totals managed to eradicate moderate drought conditions. Drought conditions in Oklahoma have persisted, with the panhandle still experiencing moderate to severe drought with some extreme and exceptional drought in the south western counties and along the Texas border. In Texas, cotton harvesting has finished, with estimates below the 10-year average but better than in previous years. Ongoing hydrological problems are leading to increased salinity along the Gulf Coast, reducing oyster collection numbers by nearly 50%. The increased threshold for releasing water down the Colorado River has rice farmers fearing for the future of their industry as well (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology). Cooler than normal temperatures in Texas has helped much of the state in preventing significant loss of soil and lake moisture, since the state did not see normal rainfall accumulations this month with the exception of the Lower Valley, Big Bend, and a band through central and eastern Texas. Streamflow conditions in the east remain normal, while statewide reservoirs maintained their levels at around 63%. There were some notable changes in hydrological policies, however, with Wichita Falls entering Stage 4 Drought Disaster water restrictions and the Lower Colorado River Authority increasing the threshold required for water to be released downriver from 42% to 55% (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology).

As summarized by the Midwest Regional Climate Center, November was a cooler than normal month for the entire Southern region, with precipitation ranging from less than 10 percent of normal in west central Minnesota to more than 200 percent of normal on both sides of the northern half of Lake Michigan. Precipitation was above normal for much of Wisconsin and Michigan but below normal for most of the remaining areas in the Midwest. Fall (September to November) precipitation was below normal in most of the region but some areas were above normal. Totals less than 75 percent of normal were common from southern Minnesota to central Missouri and Illinois. Wet areas included the Ohio River Valley, northern Michigan, and west central Minnesota where fall precipitation topped 150 percent of normal. November temperatures in the Midwest were slightly below normal. Though most of the Midwest had a killing freeze in October, the remaining areas in the southern and eastern Midwest had killing freezes in November. This brought the growing season to an end by mid-November across the region. Harvest also wrapped up across the region in November. Preliminary yields were mostly at or above expectations with less impact from the summer drought than feared during the event.

As noted by the Southeast Regional Climate Center, November was a dry month across most of the Southeast. Monthly precipitation totals were less than 50 percent of normal along a band stretching from southern Alabama through central Georgia, as well as across central portions of Florida and the Carolinas. In contrast, monthly precipitation was above normal along a band stretching from the Big Bend of Florida through southeastern Georgia, as well as across South Florida and the Keys. Precipitation in November was variable across Puerto Rico and above normal across the U.S. Virgin Islands. Charlotte Amalie Airport on the island of St. Thomas recorded its third wettest November in a record extending back to 1953. Much of the precipitation that fell across the Southeast in November occurred in association with an area of low pressure that tracked across the Florida Peninsula and up the East Coast from the 26th through the 27th of the month. Widespread daily totals of up to 3 inches (76 mm) were recorded with locally heavier amounts of up to 6 inches (152 mm) recorded across parts of northwest Florida and along coastal sections of Georgia and the Carolinas. Mean temperatures in November were variable across the Southeast, with above normal temperatures across much of Florida and below normal temperatures across the remainder of the region.

Precipitation deficits across the Southeast over the past three months resulted in an expansion of abnormally dry (D0) conditions on the USDM. By the end of November, approximately half of the region was in D0, including central and eastern portions of Alabama and Georgia, northeast Florida, and much of the Carolinas and Virginia. While the dry weather helped many farmers complete their harvests (including Christmas trees in western North Carolina), the lack of moisture delayed the planting of several winter crops and limited the growth of pastures, small grains, and some citrus.

As explained by the Northeast Regional Climate Center, for the third consecutive month, the Northeast was drier than normal. The region received 3.60 inches (91.4 mm) of precipitation, 94 percent of normal. Fall precipitation was below normal as well, with the region seeing 9.78 inches (248.41 mm), 84 percent of normal. All states ended the season with below-normal precipitation. After a warmer-than-normal October, temperatures took a nosedive in November in the Northeast. With an average temperature of 36.7 degrees F (2.6 degrees C), it was 3.1 degrees F (1.7 degrees C) cooler than normal.

According to the USDM released on November 7, 17.80 percent of the Northeast was experiencing abnormal dryness (D0) with 3.27 percent experiencing moderate drought (D1) conditions. An ongoing lack of precipitation caused conditions to deteriorate through the month. By month's end, D0 conditions had expanded to 34.52 percent of the region while D1 conditions covered 7.79 percent of the region. Two wildfires highlighted the danger of the dry conditions. A wildfire in Pendleton County, West Virginia, which was experiencing D0 conditions, charred about 2.5 square miles of land. The fire began on the 10th and was contained on the 22nd. Rockland County, New York, which was experiencing D1 conditions, was the site of a fire that consumed more than 100 acres from the 14th to the 16th. Due to continued reduced rainfall, a drought warning was declared on November 25 for Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, and its surrounding suburbs. Customers were asked to reduce their water usage by 25 percent. Moderate drought conditions in northern New Jersey caused Lake Hopatcong to be refilled earlier than usual. The lake, which is drained five feet every five years to allow for property maintenance, is usually refilled to winter water levels on December 15, but it was bumped up to December 1.

As summarized by the Western Regional Climate Center, slightly warmer than normal temperatures were observed in much of the West this month, though the northern tier of the region and a number of Southwest locations were somewhat cooler than normal. Despite several storms passing through the West, precipitation remained below normal for much of the region. A cutoff low pressure system over the Southwest brought significant precipitation to the area during the latter half of the month.

Drier than normal conditions were observed in the Northwest and Rocky Mountain states this month, continuing the below normal precipitation trend seen in October. Many locations received less than 75% of anticipated precipitation. Klamath Falls, Oregon, reported only 15% of normal November precipitation at 0.34 in (9 mm), the 3rd driest in a 39-year record. North Bend, Oregon, logged its 9th driest November since records began in 1902 at 2.7 in (69 mm). Seattle, Washington received 3.79 in (96 mm) of precipitation, 57% of normal. In Northern California, 0.85 in (22 mm) of rain fell in Ukiah, 20% of normal and the 14th driest November in a 121-year record. Elsewhere in the area, Crescent City and Arcata received 25% of their normal precipitation. Similar conditions prevailed throughout Montana, where Missoula and Billings both received 53% of their normal precipitation at 0.54 in (14 mm) and 0.34 in (9 mm), respectively. This was the 22nd driest November in Billings since records began in 1934. In contrast, Kalispell, in northwest Montana, collected 2.54 in (65 mm) precipitation, 178% of normal. After a wet October, Wyoming saw dry conditions with Rock Springs only 0.03 in (<1 mm) precipitation, 6% of normal and the 5th driest November since records began in 1948.

In the Southwest, wetter than normal conditions prevailed due to a slow moving low pressure system that stalled over the region from the 21st through the 24th. Winslow, Arizona saw its wettest November in a 121-year record at 2.54 in (65 mm). Phoenix, Arizona recorded 2.43 in (62 mm), their 7th wettest November since records began in 1895. The precipitation received during this single storm represents 30% of Phoenix's year-to-date precipitation. Mountainous regions of southeast Arizona received over a foot of snow (30 cm). Further north, Alamosa, Colorado received 18.1 in (46 cm) of snow from this storm to secure its second snowiest November in a 66-year record. Alamosa's average Novemeber snowfall is 4.1 in (10 cm). Portions of Southern California also received much needed rainfall from this storm. Barstow, which typically receives only 0.34 in (9 mm) in November, recorded 1.76 in (45 mm) for the wettest November since records began in 1948. Bakersfield posted 0.94 in (24 mm) of precipitation, 147% of normal and tied for 19th wettest November in the station's 77-year record. This month's abundant precipitation continued improvement of persistent drought in the Southwest. Snow water equivalent was near normal to slightly above the 1981-2010 median throughout the Rocky Mountains, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Much of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range were at 50% of median or less of snow water equivalent in their snowpack.

In Alaska, a wetter than normal trend that began in September continued for much of the state. With a month to spare, Valdez secured its wettest calendar year on record at 94.78 in (2407 mm). The previous record was 93.3 in (2369 mm) in 1981. Records at Valdez began in 1949. Fairbanks received 1.35 in (34 mm) of precipitation this month for the 10th wettest November in an 85-year record. Anchorage experienced its wettest November day on record when 1.27 in (32 mm) of precipitation fell on November 10. Further south, precipitation was variable across the Hawaiian Islands. Many locations on Oahu reported above normal precipitation, though Honolulu received only 80% of normal. On Maui, Kahului reported 4.64 in (118 mm), for the 7th wettest November since records began in 1905. On the Big Island, Hilo logged 6.66 in (169 mm), 8.84 in (225 mm) below normal and the 10th driest November on record. Year-to-date, 2013 is the 9th driest in Hilo's 65-year record.

Pacific Islands: According to reports from National Weather Service offices, the Pacific ENSO Applications Climate Center (PEAC), and partners, conditions varied across the Pacific Islands.

As noted by the National Weather Service office in Honolulu, a pair of low pressure systems brought heavy rainfall to portions of the state of Hawaii during the month of November. However, the highest amounts occurred mainly over the west half of the island chain which has been least affected by drought. Small areas of moderate drought, or the D1 category on the USDM map, on the leeward slopes of Kauai and Oahu were finally eliminated. Unfortunately, rainfall was much more limited over the east half of the state and there were only modest improvements in a few areas. Areas of extreme drought, or the D3 category, remained firmly in place over Maui county and the Big Island. For Maui County this includes the lower southwestern slope of Haleakala near Kihei and portions of west Molokai serviced by the Kualapuu reservoir. The area of severe drought, or D2 conditions, was reduced over the upcountry area as mid-November rainfall over the windward Haleakala slopes helped raise water levels in the ditches feeding reservoirs. On the Big Island, D3 conditions remained over the Pohakuloa region of the Hamakua district and over a small section of leeward north Kohala south of Hawi. Occasional rainfall over the southern Kau district during the past several weeks has helped drive D2 conditions, or severe drought, down to the D1 level from south point to Punaluu.

Some drought impacts impacts in Hawaii include the following:

KAUAI.
THERE ARE NO DROUGHT IMPACTS TO REPORT.

OAHU.
THERE ARE NO DROUGHT IMPACTS TO REPORT.

MOLOKAI.
AFTER A SMALL RISE IN EARLY NOVEMBER...THE WATER LEVEL IN THE
KUALAPUU RESERVOIR HAS STARTED DROPPING AGAIN AND IS VERY LOW.
THE STATE OF HAWAII DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE HAS CONTINUED ITS
MANDATORY 30 PERCENT REDUCTION IN IRRIGATION WATER USE FOR THIS
RESERVOIR SYSTEM.

LANAI.
SATELLITE-BASED DATA SHOWED CONTINUED STRESS ON VEGETATION HEALTH
AND THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGES DURING THE PAST
MONTH. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE BELOW AVERAGE NOVEMBER RAINFALL
TOTAL RECORDED BY A RAIN GAGE ON THE ISLAND.

MAUI.
A MID-NOVEMBER RAIN EVENT HELPED RESTORE WATER LEVELS IN UPCOUNTRY
RESERVOIRS.  THIS ALLOWED THE MAUI COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF WATER SUPPLY
TO CANCEL THEIR REQUEST FOR A VOLUNTARY 20 PERCENT CUTBACK IN WATER
USE BY UPCOUNTRY RESIDENTS.  THE DEPARTMENT CONTINUES TO MAINTAIN
ITS LONG STANDING REQUEST FOR CENTRAL AND SOUTH MAUI RESIDENTS TO
VOLUNTARILY REDUCE CONSUMPTION BY 10 PERCENT.

BIG ISLAND.
VEGETATION CONDITIONS REMAIN DRY OVER THE HAMAKUA SLOPES FROM
LAUPAHOEHOE TO HONOKAA.  RANCHERS OPERATING IN THE AREA HAVE BEEN
BUYING SUPPLEMENTAL FEED AND HAULING WATER.  SEVERAL BRUSH FIRES
HAVE OCCURRED IN RECENT WEEKS ALONG THE SLOPES OF THE SOUTH KOHALA
AND NORTH KONA DISTRICTS.  WHILE ARSON IS SUSPECTED AS THE
CAUSE...IT IS ALSO INDICATIVE OF THE DRY VEGETATION CONDITIONS IN
THOSE AREAS. 

SPI values for seven time periods for Hawaiian Island stations, computed by the Honolulu NWS office.
SPI values for seven time periods for Hawaiian Island stations

On other Pacific Islands (maps — Micronesia, Marshall Islands, basinwide), November 2013 was drier than normal at Guam and Saipan in the Mariana Islands, Yap and Kapingamarangi in the Federated States of Micronesia, and Pago Pago in American Samoa. November was near normal at Majuro and above normal at the other USAPI stations. The November rainfall amounts were below 4 inches (a critical threshold amount) at Kapingamarangi and Saipan, below 8 inches (another critical threshold amount) at Guam, Yap, and Pago Pago, and above 8 inches at the other stations. The monthly precipitation has been below 8 inches at Kapingamarangi for each of the last seven months, with the May-November total precipitation 56 percent of normal. November is the second consecutive month drier than 8 inches for Pago Pago.

The weather pattern experienced several changes during 2013. Stations in the Republic of the Marshall Islands were dry for much of the year, with Kwajalein and Majuro below normal for the year to date (January-November 2013) and the last 12 months (December 2012-November 2013). It was only this month that these two stations were near to above normal, but early autumn dryness still kept the September-November rainfall totals below normal. The wet September and October at Guam, Saipan, and Yap gave these stations a wetter-than-normal September-November and near- to above-normal January-November and December-November, but the last month (November) was very dry. In American Samoa, Pago Pago had a wet start to the year, but the last three months have averaged drier than normal. Koror and the Micronesian stations Pohnpei and Lukonor were drier than normal for January-November and December-November, but recent months have been wetter than normal.


X
  • Percent of Normal Precip
  • Precipitation
  • Normals
Pacific Island Percent of 1981-2010 Normal Median Precipitation
Station NameDec
2012
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
Jun
2013
Jul
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec 2012-
Nov 2013
Chuuk116%99%146%192%49%79%84%84%80%141%103%111%99%
Guam NAS55%128%97%191%45%103%102%53%74%255%198%56%102%
Kapingamarangi74%197%154%199%77%48%47%50%83%55%85%38%79%
Koror103%72%92%56%103%109%67%64%99%64%86%115%78%
Kosrae110%98%146%64%95%76%122%69%62%104%201%112%85%
Kwajalein230%39%17%74%178%29%67%98%57%82%37%121%85%
Lukonor62%60%134%122%71%92%64%37%62%117%118%125%75%
Majuro53%31%152%78%69%65%96%103%65%87%71%96%79%
Pago Pago143%137%87%93%144%66%220%153%337%125%62%58%108%
Pohnpei71%83%54%67%59%52%113%61%38%121%81%142%76%
Saipan89%191%78%127%63%203%157%50%53%167%109%52%96%
Yap102%90%113%130%50%69%134%53%86%181%144%74%100%
Pacific Island Precipitation (Inches)
Station NameDec
2012
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
Jun
2013
Jul
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec 2012-
Nov 2013
Chuuk13.0910.0010.6016.006.118.939.8510.0410.2516.4911.8211.82135
Guam NAS2.815.122.953.951.143.516.325.3910.8432.2522.664.13101.07
Kapingamarangi7.2518.0214.2522.7910.515.846.457.116.725.426.993.49114.84
Koror11.527.297.914.137.5712.8711.7011.9413.357.5310.1913.11119.11
Kosrae17.7516.2718.8910.2016.7113.4117.8910.338.8014.8222.0315.54182.64
Kwajalein15.331.220.461.739.341.974.669.715.518.814.1713.6376.54
Lukonor7.005.0511.9311.348.0610.777.515.888.6411.9213.3411.38112.82
Majuro6.092.4210.445.136.466.6010.5511.517.629.709.0112.8498.37
Pago Pago18.3118.2710.489.9713.526.3511.758.4818.148.145.715.91135.03
Pohnpei11.3710.885.148.7810.9210.4416.799.425.4115.2312.3720.99137.74
Saipan3.444.832.032.401.654.825.684.426.9916.8711.602.9167.64
Yap8.685.725.865.952.815.4116.168.0112.6924.3917.606.56119.84
Pacific Island 1981-2010 Normal Median Precipitation (Inches)
Station NameDec
2012
Jan
2013
Feb
2013
Mar
2013
Apr
2013
May
2013
Jun
2013
Jul
2013
Aug
2013
Sep
2013
Oct
2013
Nov
2013
Dec 2012-
Nov 2013
Chuuk11.2510.107.258.3212.4711.3011.6611.9812.8611.7111.5110.61136.77
Guam NAS5.114.013.032.072.533.406.1810.1414.7412.6611.447.3899.09
Kapingamarangi9.849.159.2711.4313.6412.0813.7814.158.139.938.199.27145.85
Koror11.1610.188.567.447.3211.8317.4818.5313.5011.7711.8411.39152.90
Kosrae16.1116.6712.9316.0617.5117.7514.6414.9114.2214.2210.9413.83213.87
Kwajalein6.663.162.642.355.266.726.939.879.7410.7411.1811.2890.41
Lukonor11.278.418.939.2611.3111.6911.6515.9314.0410.1511.329.08151.36
Majuro11.397.746.886.589.4210.1111.0111.1711.6911.1712.7313.44125.25
Pago Pago12.8413.3412.0010.689.399.665.335.555.386.539.2610.14125.57
Pohnpei16.0813.189.5513.1718.4119.9614.8115.4314.2612.5515.2714.83182.36
Saipan3.852.532.591.892.632.383.628.9113.1310.0910.625.6170.25
Yap8.516.395.194.565.637.8512.0415.0814.8213.5012.188.83120.31

Percent of normal precipitation for current month for U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island stations

Percent of normal precipitation for last 3 months for U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island stations

Percent of normal precipitation for year to date for U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island stations

Percent of normal precipitation for last 12 months for U.S. Affiliated Pacific Island stations

SPI values for seven time periods for Pacific Islands, computed by the Honolulu NWS office.
SPI values for seven time periods for Pacific Islands

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State/Regional/National Moisture Status
A detailed review of drought and moisture conditions is available for all contiguous U.S. states, the nine standard regions, and the nation (contiguous U.S.):

States
alabama arizona arkansas california colorado connecticut
delaware florida georgia idaho illinois indiana
iowa kansas kentucky louisiana maine maryland
massachusetts michigan minnesota mississippi missouri montana
nebraska nevada new hampshire new jersey new mexico new york
north carolina north dakota ohio oklahoma oregon pennsylvania
rhode island south carolina south dakota tennessee texas utah
vermont virginia washington west virginia wisconsin wyoming

Regional
northeast u. s. east north central u. s. central u. s.
southeast u. s. west north central u. s. south u. s.
southwest u. s. northwest u. s. west u. s.

National
Contiguous United States

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Reference Maps

Satellite-Based Drought Graphics

VegDRI (Vegetation Drought Response Index)
VegDRI (Vegetation Drought Response Index)

NOAA VHI (Vegetation Health Index)
NOAA VHI (Vegetation Health Index)


Agricultural and Soil Moisture Drought Graphics

USDA Topsoil Short or Very Short of Moisture
USDA Topsoil Short or Very Short of Moisture

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Top 1 Meter Soil Moisture Anomaly
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Top 1 Meter Soil Moisture Anomaly

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Total Column Soil Moisture Anomaly
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Total Column Soil Moisture Anomaly

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Top 1 Meter Soil Moisture Percentile
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Top 1 Meter Soil Moisture Percentile

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Total Column Soil Moisture Percentile
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Total Column Soil Moisture Percentile

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Soil Moisture Percentile
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Soil Moisture Percentile

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Soil Moisture Anomaly
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Soil Moisture Anomaly

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Soil Moisture Anomaly 1-month Change
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Soil Moisture Anomaly 1-month Change

University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) Soil Moisture Percentile
University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) Soil Moisture Percentile

University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) Soil Moisture Percentile 1-month Change
University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) Soil Moisture Percentile 1-month Change

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Leaky Bucket Model Soil Moisture Percentile
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Leaky Bucket Model Soil Moisture Percentile


Hydrological Drought Graphics

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Streamflow Percentiles
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Streamflow Percentiles

University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 1-Month Runoff Percentiles
University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 1-Month Runoff Percentiles

University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 2-Month Runoff Percentiles
University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 2-Month Runoff Percentiles

University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 3-Month Runoff Percentiles
University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 3-Month Runoff Percentiles

University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 6-Month Runoff Percentiles
University of Washington VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity macroscale hydrologic model) 6-Month Runoff Percentiles

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Runoff Anomalies
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Runoff Anomalies

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Runoff Percentiles
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Runoff Percentiles

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Streamflow Anomalies
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Streamflow Anomalies

NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Streamflow Percentiles
NOAA NLDAS (North American Land Data Assimilation System) Streamflow Percentiles

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Real-Time Network Groundwater Percentiles
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Real-Time Network Groundwater Percentiles

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Climate Response Network Groundwater Percentiles
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Climate Response Network Groundwater Percentiles

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Total Active Network Groundwater Percentiles
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Total Active Network Groundwater Percentiles

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Below-Normal Station Groundwater Percentiles
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Below-Normal Station Groundwater Percentiles

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Active Springwater Percentiles
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Active Springwater Percentiles

USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Statewide Reservoir Percent of Capacity
USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Statewide Reservoir Percent of Capacity


Meteorological Drought Graphics - Precipitation Amount

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Precipitation Amount
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Precipitation Amount

Oregon State University PRISM Model Precipitation Amount (preliminary)
Oregon State University PRISM Model Precipitation Amount (preliminary)

NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) Precipitation Amount
NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) Precipitation Amount

NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Precipitation Amount
NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Precipitation Amount


Meteorological Drought Graphics - Precipitation Percentiles, Percent of Normal, Ranks

NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) Precipitation Percent of Normal
NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) Precipitation Percent of Normal

NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Precipitation Percent of Normal
NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Precipitation Percent of Normal

Oregon State University PRISM Model Precipitation Percent of Normal (preliminary)
Oregon State University PRISM Model Precipitation Percent of Normal (preliminary)

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Precipitation Percentile
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Precipitation Percentile

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Leaky Bucket Model Precipitation Percentile
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Leaky Bucket Model Precipitation Percentile

SNOTEL and ACIS Western Station Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL and ACIS Western Station Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Western Basin Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Western Basin Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Alaska Station Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Alaska Station Precipitation Percent of Normal

NOAA NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) Statewide Precipitation Ranks
NOAA NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) Statewide Precipitation Ranks


Meteorological Drought Graphics - Precipitation Days

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Number of Days with Precipitation
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Number of Days with Precipitation

USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Consecutive Days Without Precipitation
USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) Consecutive Days Without Precipitation


Meteorological Drought Graphics - Water-Year-to-Date Precipitation Percent of Normal or Percentiles

NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal
NOAA NWS (National Weather Service) Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal

NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal
NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL and ACIS Western Station Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL and ACIS Western Station Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Western Station Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percentiles
SNOTEL Western Station Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percentiles

SNOTEL Western Basins Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Western Basins Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Alaska Stations Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Alaska Stations Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Alaska Basins Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Alaska Basins Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Western Basins Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Average
SNOTEL Western Basins Water-Year-to-Date (October 1-Present) Precipitation Percent of Average


Meteorological Drought Graphics - Snow

SNOTEL Western Station SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Western Station SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Western Station SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percentile
SNOTEL Western Station SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percentile

SNOTEL Western Basin SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Western Basin SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Western Basin Snow Water Content Percent of Average
SNOTEL Western Basin Snow Water Content Percent of Average

SNOTEL Alaska Station SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Alaska Station SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal

SNOTEL Alaska Basin SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal
SNOTEL Alaska Basin SWE (Snow Water Equivalent) Percent of Normal


Meteorological Drought Graphics - Temperature

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Temperature Departure from Normal
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Temperature Departure from Normal

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Temperature Percentile
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Temperature Percentile

CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Leaky Bucket Model Temperature Percentile
CPC (NOAA Climate Prediction Center) Leaky Bucket Model Temperature Percentile

NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Temperature Departure from Normal
NOAA HPRCC (High Plains Regional Climate Center) Temperature Departure from Normal

Oregon State University PRISM Model Temperature Departure from Normal (preliminary)
Oregon State University PRISM Model Temperature Departure from Normal (preliminary)

NOAA NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) Standardized Temperature Anomalies
NOAA NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) Standardized Temperature Anomalies

NOAA NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) Statewide Temperature Ranks
NOAA NCDC (National Climatic Data Center) Statewide Temperature Ranks

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Contacts & Questions
For additional, or more localized, drought information, please visit:

Citing This Report

NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Drought for November 2013, published online December 2013, retrieved on November 23, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/2013/11.