NOAA / National Weather Service / National Centers for Environmental Prediction / Climate Prediction Center (CPC)
The National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center (CPC) U.S. Hazards Outlook is released every weekday and targets the Day 8–14 (Week 2) forecast period for potential hazardous conditions related to temperature, precipitation, wind, snow, and rapid onset drought. The forecast is mainly represented in probabilistic format, with the exclusion of a few variables (e.g., frozen precipitation and flooding), which are denoted in categorical format without associated probabilities. A composite map is released in addition to the separate probabilistic maps, showing any categorical variables, as well as highlighted regions drawn as a moderate risk on any of the temperature, precipitation and wind probabilistic maps.
In May 2022, CPC began issuing an experimental Rapid Onset Drought risk product within the Day 8–14 U.S. Hazards Outlook. This product highlights areas where rapid drought development (sometimes known as “flash drought”) may occur in the coming 2–4 weeks as depicted by the U.S. Drought Monitor. This experimental variable uses initial conditions, such as antecedent dryness (e.g., soil moisture), and skillful temperature and precipitation outlooks during the next two weeks to communicate the risk of rapidly-developing drought. While the Day 8–14 U.S. Hazards Outlook is released daily, Rapid Onset Drought risk hazards are only released on Thursdays between April 1–October 31, with potential updates on the following Mondays.
Rapid Onset Drought risk areas give end users, particularly farmers making decisions about planting and supplemental irrigation, an early warning of the potential for hot and dry conditions. This product supplements CPC’s Monthly Drought Outlook and is an important step toward comprehensive flash drought monitoring and prediction.