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Temperature & Precipitation

Air temperature and precipitation can have wide-ranging effects on natural processes, and their datasets are foundational for drought and climate analysis. Changes in temperature and precipitation can substantially disrupt crops and livestock, influence the frequency and intensity of severe weather events, and affect the quality and quantity of water available for municipal and industrial use. 

Temperature and Precipitation Measurements

Temperature and precipitation data are collected from weather stations, weather radar, satellites, and computer models.

A thermometer showing high heat.

Warmer air temperatures increase evapotranspiration—which is the combination of evaporation from the soil and bodies of water and transpiration from plants—and lower soil moisture.

A full rain gauge.

Drought is defined as the lack of precipitation over an extended period of time, usually for a season or more, that results in a water shortage.

Data, Maps, and Tools

To make data easier to use, many organizations derive products from raw data. These derived products may start with station data, which estimate (or interpolate) the information between stations using different methodologies. Radar- and satellite-based products may include station data as “ground truth” to remove bias and create more accurate products.

Temperature and Precipitation Outlooks

CPC Temperature Outlooks

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) produces temperature outlooks for the U.S., including 6–10 day, 8–14 day, monthly, and seasonal outlooks. The outlooks depict whether there is a greater chance for above-normal, below-normal, or near-normal conditions during the noted time frame. Learn more.

Probability of Below-Normal Temperature

The color with the hex code #a0c0df identifies:
> 33%
The color with the hex code #77b5e2 identifies:
> 40%
The color with the hex code #389fdb identifies:
> 50%
The color with the hex code #005ca1 identifies:
> 60%
The color with the hex code #2f406f identifies:
> 70%
The color with the hex code #221852 identifies:
> 80%
The color with the hex code #1c1342 identifies:
> 90%

Probability of Above-Normal Temperature

The color with the hex code #e7b168 identifies:
> 33%
The color with the hex code #e38b4a identifies:
> 40%
The color with the hex code #dc562f identifies:
> 50%
The color with the hex code #c72e28 identifies:
> 60%
The color with the hex code #cc3047 identifies:
> 70%
The color with the hex code #8a2f38 identifies:
> 80%
The color with the hex code #622228 identifies:
> 90%
Source(s):

CPC

Source(s):

CPC

Source(s):

CPC

Updates Daily  -  01/21/21
Updates Monthly  -  01/21/21
Updates Monthly  -  01/21/21

CPC Precipitation Outlooks

The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) produces precipitation outlooks for the U.S., including 6–10 day, 8–14 day, monthly, and seasonal outlooks. The outlooks depict whether there is a greater chance for above-normal, below-normal, or near-normal conditions during the noted time frame. Learn more.

Probability of Below-Normal Precipitation

The color with the hex code #f0d493 identifies:
> 33%
The color with the hex code #d8a750 identifies:
> 40%
The color with the hex code #bb6d33 identifies:
> 50%
The color with the hex code #9b5031 identifies:
> 60%
The color with the hex code #934639 identifies:
> 70%
The color with the hex code #804000 identifies:
> 80%
The color with the hex code #4f2f2f identifies:
> 90%

Probability of Above-Normal Precipitation

The color with the hex code #b3d9ab identifies:
> 33%
The color with the hex code #94cd7e identifies:
> 40%
The color with the hex code #48ae38 identifies:
> 50%
The color with the hex code #3a7b5f identifies:
> 60%
The color with the hex code #008e40 identifies:
> 70%
The color with the hex code #28553d identifies:
> 80%
The color with the hex code #285517 identifies:
> 90%
Source(s):

CPC

Source(s):

CPC

Source(s):

CPC

Updates Daily  -  01/21/21
Updates Monthly  -  01/21/21
Updates Monthly  -  01/21/21

Related Content

Research & Learn | Flash Drought

Flash drought intensifies rapidly due to changes in precipitation, temperature, wind, and radiation. Find more information about flash drought on this Research & Learn page.

Research & Learn | Monitoring Drought

Drought monitoring at the national, regional, and local levels is an integral part of drought early warning, planning, and mitigation. Learn more about drought monitoring here.