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Regional Drought Update Date
June 8, 2021
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Drought Status Update

Southeast Climate Update and 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook


DEWS Regions:

Next month’s Southeast Monthly Climate Webinar is on Tuesday, July 13 at 10 a.m. Eastern, with a special presentation on NOAA's "New Climate Normals." Register here for upcoming monthyl webinars.

Climate Conditions and Outlooks

  • May temperatures were slightly below average for most of Southeast region, with Florida and Puerto Rico near average.
  • May precipitation was above normal this past week for coastal North Carolina, and below normal for the rest of the region.
  • May severe weather included hail in Greensboro, NC, an EF-1 tornado in York County, SC, and a lightning strike in Florida.
  • The La Niña Advisory has ended, with neutral conditions continuing (67% chance June-August). The next update is on June 10.
  • Tropical Update: Prepare now for Hurricane Season. Outlooks suggest another active season (see below).
  • Looking Ahead: The next 6-10 days have a higher probability of warmer temperatures and wetter conditions for most of the Southeast. The next three months will likely be warm and wet.
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions: Southeast | June 1, 2021

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Southeast, as of June 1, 2021. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. Drought categories show experts’ assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought including observations of how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year. 

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for Puerto Rico, as of June 1, 2021. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. Drought categories show experts’ assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought including observations of how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year. 

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the U.S. Virgin Islands, as of June 1, 2021. The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is updated each Thursday to show the location and intensity of drought across the country. Drought categories show experts’ assessments of conditions related to dryness and drought including observations of how much water is available in streams, lakes, and soils compared to usual for the same time of year. 

U.S. Drought Monitor Categories

The color with the hex code #ffff00 identifies:
D0 - Abnormally Dry
The color with the hex code #ffcc99 identifies:
D1 - Moderate Drought
The color with the hex code #f5ad3d identifies:
D2 - Severe Drought
The color with the hex code #ff0000 identifies:
D3 - Extreme Drought
The color with the hex code #660000 identifies:
D4 - Exceptional Drought
Main Stats
44%
of the Southeast U.S. is experiencing Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions or worse
20.9%
of the Southeast U.S. is experiencing Moderate (D1) to Severe (D12) Drought
19.7%
of Puerto Rico is experiencing Moderate Drought (D1)

Drought

  • Short-term Severe Drought (D2) is present in eastern South Carolina, southeastern North Carolina, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Moderate Drought (D1) is present in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico.
  • Looking Ahead: Drought removal is likely for the Carolinas.

Water Resources and Summer Flood Outlook

  • Streamflows are generally near normal across the region with a general decline after a dry May across most of Southeast.
  • Looking Ahead: One in nine Atlantic tropical storms produce widespread flooding in the Southeast region, so potentially expect 1–2 tropical storm flooding events in the Southeast through Fall. Overall, expect a typical number and magnitude of river floods this summer.

Agriculture Impact and Outlook

  • Dry conditions in most of region have slowed the end of planting for cotton and peanuts, but helped farmers catch up on field work.
  • Heavy irrigation is occurring where available.
  • Dryland crops are hurting, and pastures and forage conditions are not good in most parts of the region.
  • Impacts from April frosts are generally less severe than expected
  • Looking Ahead: More rain the next week will be welcome but will increase disease pressure. Tropical activity appears to be starting up, which could cause heavy rains, clouds and cooler temperatures along the path, and dry conditions away from the center.

The 2021 Seasonal Atlantic Hurricane Outlook

What Happened: Southeast Temperature

Departure from normal temperature across the Southeast U.S. from May 6 to June 4, 2021. May temperatures were slightly below average for most of Southeast region, with Florida and Puerto Rico near average.
A look at temperature departures from normal across the Southeast from May 8 to June 6, 2021. Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center.

What Happened: Southeast Precipitation

Percent of normal precipitation for the Southeast U.S. from May 8 to June 6, 2021. With a few notable exceptions, much of the region experienced below-normal precipitation.
A look at precipitation asa percent of normal across the Southeast from May 8 to June 6, 2021. Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center.

Current Conditions: River Flood Status

River flood status across the Southeast, from the Southeast River Forecast Center. As of June 7, 2021, most of the Southeast is in the "below flood" level.
A look at current river flood conditions. Valid as of June 7, 2021. Source: National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center.

Looking Ahead: Summer Flood Outlook

Summer flood outlook for the Southeast U.S. Typical flooding is predicted throughout the region. Streamflows are running near normal in most locations with an overall declining trend in May. However, an active tropical season could result in potential flooding during the summer.
Streamflow forecast for June to August 2021 in the Southeast. Source: National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center.

Looking Ahead: Seasonal Outlooks

Temperature Outlook: June-August 2021

Climate Prediction Center 3-month temperature outlook for June to August 2021, showing the probability that conditions will be above, below, or near normal.  Odds favor above-normal temperatures across the Southeast.
NOAA three-month temperature outlook for June to August 2021, showing the probability (percent chance) of above- or below-normal temperatures. Source: Climate.gov, with data from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

Precipitation Outlook: June-August 2021

Climate Prediction Center 3-month precipitation outlook for June to August 2021, showing the probability that conditions will be above, below, or near normal.  Odds slightly favor above-normal precipitation across the Southeast.
NOAA three-month precipitation outlook for June to August 2021, showing the probability (percent chance) of above- or below-normal temperatures. Source: Climate.gov, with data from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

Acknowledgments 

Webinar Speakers

  • Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center
  • Todd Hamill, National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center
  • Pam Knox, University of Georgia
  • Matthew Rosencrans, NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Relevant Regional Resources

Southeast Regional Climate Center (SERCC)

National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center (SERFC)

Streamflow Monitoring & Forecasting

National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center: Outlook Products

ACIS Climate Maps, High Plains Regional Climate Center

NOAA El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Blog

Climate and Agriculture in the Southeast: Blog

Hurricane Preparedness

Special Thanks

The Southeast Climate monthly webinar series is held on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 a.m. ET. This series is hosted by the Southeast Regional Climate Center, in partnership with the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) and the NOAA National Weather Service. These webinars provide the region with timely information on current and developing climate conditions such as drought, floods and tropical storms, as well as climatic events like El Niño and La Niña. Speakers may also discuss the impacts of these conditions on topics such as agriculture production, water resources, wildfires and ecosystems.

For webinar-related questions or suggestions, please contact Meredith Muth (meredith.f.muth@noaa.gov).