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Regional Drought Update Date
July 13, 2021
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Drought Status Update

Southeast Climate Update and Webinar Recap


DEWS Regions:

Next month’s Southeast Monthly Climate Webinar is on Tuesday, August 10 at 10 a.m. Eastern, with a special presentation on "Heat Risk Tools for the Southeast." Register here for upcoming monthly webinars.

Climate Conditions and Outlooks

  • June temperatures were near average for most of the Southeast region.
  • June precipitation was variable due to summer thunderstorms and tropical systems.
  • La Niña Watch: ENSO-neutral conditions are favored through summer and into fall (51% chance August–October), with La Niña potentially emerging during the September–November season and lasting through the 2021–22 winter (66% chance November–January).
  • Tropical Update:
    • Tropical storms Ana, Bill, Claudette, Danny
    • Hurricane Elsa
  • Looking Ahead: According to the July 14–18 outlook, odds favor warmer temperatures for Virginia and North Carolina and drier conditions for the coastal Carolinas.
Current Conditions
U.S. Drought Monitor Conditions: Southeast | July 6, 2021

Current U.S. Drought Monitor map for the Southeast, as of July 6, 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 July 6, 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 July 6, 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
17.2%
of the Southeast U.S. is experiencing Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions or worse
8.3%
of Puerto Rico is experiencing Moderate Drought (D1)
Severe Drought
is present on St. Croix

Drought

  • Abnormally Dry conditions (D0) are present in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Puerto Rico, with Moderate Drought (D1) at the Virginia–North Carolina border and southern Puerto Rico.
  • Looking Ahead: Drought removal is likely.

Water Resources and Summer Flood Outlook

  • Streamflows are above normal across Alabama, most of Florida, and parts of the Carolinas from Tropical Storm Claudette in June and, recently, Hurricane Elsa. Georgia streamflows are mostly near normal.
  • Looking Ahead: The summer flood outlook calls for typical river flooding, which is fairly minimal/isolated from July to September. The exception is the Florida Peninsula, where magnitude and number go up with tropical and convective storm season.
  • Looking Ahead: Flash flooding and headwater flooding will have the greatest risk through late summer in the Southeast. Tropical systems will also dictate the threat into autumn.

Agriculture Impact and Outlook

  • The region did not experience too many adverse impacts from tropical storms, other than lots of rain and some locally severe weather.
  • There is no sign of flash drought, although there are dry areas in central and western North Carolina and Virginia.
  • Lots of disease pressure from fungal diseases and insect pests.
  • Looking Ahead: Tropical activity is expected to be relatively quiet for the next few weeks. The current cycle of "rinse and repeat" is expected to occur for at least the next week.

New Climate Normals

  • There are now almost 15,000 stations with precipitation normals and more than 7,300 stations with temperature normals.
  • Warming from 1981–2010 to 1991–2020 is widespread but not ubiquitous across the conterminous U.S., either in geographic space or time of year, with recent cooling in the North Central U.S.
  • Precipitation changes from 1981–2010 to 1991–2020 also vary considerably on a month-to-month basis, but are generally wetter in the Southeast and Central U.S.

What Happened: Southeast Temperature

Departure from normal temperature across the Southeast from June 13 to July 12, 2021. Temperatures were near to below normal in much of the region.
A look at temperature departures from normal across the Southeast from June 13 to July 12, 2021. Source: High Plains Regional Climate Center.

What Happened: Southeast Precipitation

Percent of normal precipitation for June 13 to July 12, 2021 for the Southeast U.S. Precipitation was varied across the Southeast.
A look at precipitation asa percent of normal across the Southeast from June 13 to July 12, 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 July 13, 2021, most of the Southeast is in the "below flood" level, with action level and moderate/major flooding in parts of Florida.
A look at current river flood conditions. Valid as of July 13, 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.
Streamflow forecast for July to September 2021 in the Southeast. Source: National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center.

Looking Ahead: Seasonal Outlooks

Temperature Outlook: July–September 2021

Climate Prediction Center 3-month temperature outlook, showing the probability of above, near, or below normal temperatures from July to September 2021. Odds favor above-normal temperatures across the Southeast.
NOAA three-month temperature outlook for July to September 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: July–September 2021 

Climate Prediction Center 3-month precipitation outlook, showing the probability of above, near, or below normal precipitation from July to September 2021. Odds favor above-normal precipitation for northern Florida and all of Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
NOAA three-month precipitation outlook for July to September 2021, showing the probability (percent chance) of above- or below-normal precipitation. Source: Climate.gov, with data from the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center.

Acknowledgments 

Webinar Speakers

  • Sandra Rayne, Southeast Regional Climate Center
  • Jeff Dobur, National Weather Service Southeast River Forecast Center
  • Pam Knox, University of Georgia
  • Michael Palecki, NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information

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

Climate Normals

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).