Drought - June 2014
NCDC transitioned to the nClimDiv dataset on Thursday, March 13, 2014. This was coincident with the release of the February 2014 monthly monitoring report. For details on this transition, please visit our public FTP site and our U.S. Climate Divisional Database site.
Contents Of This Report:
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
Detailed Drought Discussion
During June 2014, the North Pacific and North Atlantic subtropical high pressure centers exerted influence over the southern tier states, while a strong westerly flow in the upper-level circulation sent frequent weather systems rippling across the northern CONUS. Some of these weather systems moved slowly, dumping locally heavy rains across the Northern and Central Plains, Midwest, and Lower- to Mid-Mississippi Valley. The above-normal precipitation helped reduce the area of drought in the Plains and Midwest. The subtropical high pressure, as well as westerly or northwesterly flow, helped keep precipitation below normal in southern New England, parts of the Southeast and Southern Plains, and especially much of the West where drought intensified. Frequent upper-level lows and troughs brought wetter-than-normal weather to Alaska, while the precipitation pattern across Hawaii was mixed. When integrated across the CONUS, June 2014 ranked as the sixth wettest June in the 1895-2014 record. On balance, the national drought footprint shrank when compared to last month, decreasing to about 28.4 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, about 30 percent of the CONUS was in moderate to extreme drought at the end of June, a decrease of about 3 percent compared to last month.
By the end of the month:
- moderate (D1) to severe (D2) drought covered a large area of the U.S. continuously from the West Coast to the Great Plains, connected across New Mexico;
- there were two epicenters of extreme (D3) to exceptional (D4) drought within this large drought area — one located in the California-Nevada region and the other in the Southern Plains centered in northern Texas and extending outward into New Mexico, Oklahoma, southeast Colorado, and western Kansas;
- an area of moderate drought was growing in the Southern Appalachians; and
- patches of moderate drought lingered in the Midwest and Hawaii.
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 and extensive drought in the West and parts of the Plains than the PHDI map because the meteorological conditions that produce drought are not as long-lasting as the hydrological impacts.
Used together, the Palmer Z Index and PHDI maps show that short-term wet or normal conditions occurred during June over the Plains and Midwest which had areas in long-term drought during May, resulting in contraction of drought by the end of June. Short-term dry conditions occurred over much of the West, which had areas in long-term drought during May, resulting in an intensification of drought by the end of June. Wet short-term conditions occurred over parts of the long-term near normal to wet areas of the Northern Plains and Great Lakes, resulting in expansion of the wet spell areas there.
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.
The SPI maps illustrate how moisture conditions have varied considerably through time and space over the last two years. Persistent dryness characterized much of the West for much of the last two years. This is especially true for California. The Southwest and intermountain basin are near normal to wet at 12 months due to abundant moisture during the summer and fall of 2013, and the Pacific Northwest alternates between dry and wet and near normal at various time scales. Much of the Great Plains received well-above-normal rainfall during June, and parts of the Plains had near-normal precipitation during April and May. This has resulted in wet SPI values at the two to three-month time scales for much of the region. Dry conditions are evident in the Southern Plains on the six- and nine-month SPI maps. Precipitation that fell during 2013 neutralized the dryness at 12 months but not at 24 months. Wetter-than-normal conditions are evident for the northern tier states from the Plains to New England at most time scales, except Southern New England exhibits hints of dryness at the one-, and nine- to 24-month time scales. Areas of dryness can be seen along the Eastern Seaboard on the one-month SPI map, with dryness persistent across the Southern Appalachians from one to nine months. The dry conditions from last year in the Midwest can be seen on the 12-month SPI map, but recent precipitation has neutralized the dryness at the other time scales.
Agricultural, Hydrological, and Meteorological Indices and Impacts
Drought conditions were reflected in numerous agricultural, hydrological, and other meteorological indicators, both observed and modeled.
The heavy June rainfall over much of the Plains and Midwest shrank the drought area and improved soil moisture levels, thus benefiting crops. But much of the West was drier than normal during June, with the cumulative impact of the persistent reduced precipitation (last 2, 3, 6, 9 months) reflected in dried soils (both modeled and observed) and stressed vegetation. According to June 30 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports, more than 60 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture in California (80%), New Mexico (66%), Utah (62%), and South Carolina (61%), and 50 percent or more was short or very short in Washington (59%) and Colorado (50%). Subsoil moisture conditions were worse, reflecting the long-term (multi-year) nature of the drought, in California (90% of subsoil short or very short of moisture), Nevada (70%), New Mexico (67%), Utah (65%), Oklahoma (64%), Colorado (52%), and Texas (52%), with values greater than 50 percent in Washington (52%) and South Carolina (51%). The wind, low humidities, and prolonged dryness contributed to the development of large wildfires in the Southwest.
Precipitation in the Plains improved soil moisture and crop conditions, but the continued dry conditions across the West and parts of the Southern Plains ravaged crops and other vegetation. The modeled Soil Water Index indicated unsatisfactory soil moisture conditions across the southwestern third of the country, where impacts could be stress or wilting, and the Water Requirement Satisfaction Index indicated potential crop failure across much of the Southwest and Southern Plains. The Soil Water Index suggested increasing stress was occurring on vegetation also in the Southeast and north along the Appalachian chain. As of July 1st, about 46 percent of winter wheat was in drought, down from 51 percent a month ago, 36 percent of the cattle inventory was in drought (down 7 percent), 25 percent of hay (down 4 percent), 8 percent of corn (down 14 percent), and 5 percent of soybeans (down 11 percent). June 30th USDA reports indicated that 44 percent of the winter wheat crop was in poor to very poor condition, nationally (about the same as a month ago), with state values of 76 percent in Oklahoma, 63 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Kansas, and 40 percent in Colorado. Five percent of the nation's spring wheat crop was rated in poor to very poor condition, with 28 percent so rated in Washington state. Nationally, 15 percent of the pasture and rangeland was in poor to very poor condition, with statewide values over 50 percent in California (75%), New Mexico (67%), and Arizona (58%). The Palmer Crop Moisture Index (CMI) showed abnormally to excessively dry conditions expanding further in the West as the month progressed (weeks 1, 2, 3, 4).
The subnormal precipitation in the Southwest was reflected in below-normal monthly precipitation totals as well as lack of rain days and long runs of consecutive dry days. Streamflow and modeled runoff averaged below normal across much of the West and parts of the Plains and East, with some basins averaging much below normal and some stream gauges measuring record low monthly values for June. Precipitation for the water year-to-date (October 1 to present) has generally been near to above normal for the Northern to Central Rockies. On a basinwide basis, the northern basins in the Pacific Northwest had near average precipitation for the water year-to-date, but on an individual station-by-station basis, many stations were drier than normal. Of the western basins, the Central Rockies basins have had the wettest water year, based on percent of normal. Stations and basins in the Southern Rockies, Southwest, especially California, and parts of the Northwest predominantly have had a drier-than-normal water year. The persistent dryness — for the water year-to-date and longer — was reflected in below-normal groundwater and spring water observations, and — for Texas (especially the western counties), California, and most of the western states — below-normal reservoir levels. Some wells in the western and central states, and some springs in the western states, had record low levels, with many of the wells having the lowest groundwater levels in the last 20 years and some the lowest in at least 50 years. Statewide, Texas reservoirs were record low earlier this year but began to move out of record low territory during June.
Hawaii: The precipitation pattern for June 2014 was mixed across Hawaii. For the near-term (last 2, 3, and 6 months), conditions were generally wetter than normal across the northern islands and drier than normal or mixed across the southern islands. A mixed pattern of precipitation anomalies was evident at 9 to 12 months, but drier-than-normal anomalies still dominated at longer time scales (last 24 to 36 months). On the USDM map, moderate drought covered less than one percent of the state this month, and the area abnormally dry to moderate drought shrank to 19 percent this month compared to 50 percent last month.
Alaska: June was drier than normal for stations along the west coast of Alaska but wetter than normal for most other stations, and cooler than normal virtually statewide. Precipitation surpluses of 3 inches or more were common, with some panhandle stations receiving June precipitation totals of 9 inches or more. In spite of the June wetness, some stations in the panhandle and interior, and along the southern coast, were still drier than normal for the last 2 months and longer (last 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, and 36 months). The water-year-to-date (October 2013-June 2014) high elevation (SNOTEL) reports were wetter than normal at the interior stations and basins and near normal along the southern coast and panhandle. The wet conditions during June eliminated the area of abnormal dryness on the USDM map.
Puerto Rico: June 2014 was drier than normal across most of Puerto Rico, with just parts of the northwest wetter than normal. This pattern of precipitation anomalies is evident at longer time scales (last 2, 3, 6, and 9 months), with the greatest dryness (lowest percent of normal and biggest deficits) located in the central to south coastal regions. Rainfall deficits in excess of four inches were indicated in the eastern and south central areas for June, in excess of twelve inches for the last 6 months, and in excess of 20 inches for the last 9 months. June streamflows were below to much below normal at several stations. Abnormally dry conditions expanded to cover about 40 percent of the island on the USDM map compared to about a quarter of the island last month.
The June precipitation anomaly pattern of dryness in the West and portions of the Southern Plains and Eastern Seaboard was reflected in the state ranks. Arizona had the third driest June in the 1895-2014 record, but enough pockets of precipitation occurred in the dry areas to prevent any other state from ranking in the top ten dry category. Eleven states had June precipitation ranks in the dry third of the historical record.
The SPI measures water supply (precipitation), while the SPEI (Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index) measures the combination of water supply (precipitation) and water demand (evapotranspiration as computed from temperature). Arizona and California had their eleventh warmest June on record. The unusual warmth in the Southwest exacerbated the drought conditions as seen by more severe SPEI drought values when compared to the SPI values.
At the three-month time scale, persistent dryness in the Southwest gave Arizona their sixth driest April-June, with 2014 marking the fifth consecutive year with a drier-than-average April-June period. Dryness across the West and parts of the Southern Plains marked nine other states with a precipitation rank in the driest third of the historical record for April-June. The dry areas in the Southern Appalachians and southern New England were too small to be manifested at the state level. Like June, unusual warmth in the West, primarily California, exacerbated the drought conditions as seen by more severe SPEI drought values when compared to the SPI values.
The January-June 2014 precipitation anomaly pattern of dryness in the Southwest, Southern to Central Plains, and adjacent Midwest was reflected in the state ranks. Eight states ranked in the driest third of the historical record, with Arizona having the third driest year-to-date. Dryness in the Southern Appalachians was counterbalanced by wet or near normal conditions nearby which gave the Appalachian states near-normal precipitation ranks. Five states in the West had the tenth warmest, or warmer, January-June, including California which ranked record warm and Arizona which ranked second warmest. In fact, the 2014 value for California far surpassed any previous January-June temperature for the state. As with June and April-June, the year-to-date warmth in the Southwest exacerbated the drought conditions as seen by more severe SPEI drought values when compared to the SPI values. Likewise, the below-normal temperatures in the Plains reduced the SPEI drought values when compared to the SPI values.
For the last twelve months (July 2013-June 2014), dryness dominated the Far West, the Southern Plains to Midwest, and Southern New England, with pockets of wetness in most of the dry areas. California was especially hard hit, having the hottest and third driest July-June on record. Eight other states ranked in the driest third of the historical record. States in the Southern Plains ranked near normal because of pockets of wetter-than-average weather which influenced the statewide ranks. The West has experienced unusual warmth for most of the last twelve months, with ten states ranking in the warmest third of the historical record, as well as Florida and Rhode Island. Four of these western states — California, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona — had the tenth warmest, or warmer, July-June. The unusual warmth in the Far West exacerbated the drought conditions as seen by more severe SPEI drought values when compared to the SPI values. Likewise, as is the case for January-June, the persistent and unusually colder-than-normal temperatures east of the Rockies have reduced the severity of drought in the Midwest as seen by less severe SPEI values when compared to SPI values.
Percent area of the Western U.S. in moderate to extreme drought, January 1900 to present, based on the Palmer Drought Index.
As noted above, dry weather has dominated the West for the last several months, resulting in significant hydrological (low lake, reservoir, and stream levels) and agricultural impacts. According to the USDM, 60.1 percent of the West was experiencing moderate to exceptional drought at the end of June, which is about the same as the previous month. But continued hot and dry conditions increased the intensity of the drought, with 23.6 percent of the West experiencing the worst drought categories (extreme to exceptional drought) at the end of June compared to 20.2 percent at the beginning of the month. The Palmer Drought Index percent area statistic was 69.2 percent, an increase of about 6 percentage points from the previous month.
Recent rainfall in the Southern Plains has improved (but not eliminated) long-term deficits (36-month SPEI for June 2014 compared to 36-month SPEI for May 2014). Such beneficial precipitation has not fallen across much of the West, especially the southern portions which have been in drought for the last several years. Time series of precipitation departure show the variation over time (New Mexico, California), while maps of the SPEI show the spatial extent (36-month SPEI, 48-month SPEI) of the long-term dryness. The long-term dryness is reflected in PHDI values which continue to fall, surpassing or approaching previous record low values. The June 2014 PHDI has surpassed the lowest values reached during the 1976-77 drought of record for parts of California — the Central Coast Drainage (climate division 4), the San Joaquin Drainage (climate division 5), and the South Coast Drainage (climate division 6). Some of these analyses show a disturbing trend toward more extreme droughts over the last 40 years in California. The June 2014 PHDI value for Southeast Arizona (climate division 7) was approaching the record low value set at the beginning of the 20th century.
The growing season for the Primary Corn and Soybean agricultural belt got off to a dry start during March, it was wet across much of the region during April 2014, May saw a return to dry conditions regionwide, and June was wet again, in fact the wettest June on record. When these four months are aggregated together, March-June 2014 ranked as the 19th wettest and 42nd coolest March-June on record. Over the May-June period, the percent area of the corn-producing areas in drought shrank from 30 percent at the beginning of May to 8 percent at the end of June, and the percent area of the soybean-producing areas in drought shrank from 22 percent to 5 percent, according to USDM statistics. June 30th USDA reports indicate that 75 percent of the corn crop is in good to excellent condition with only 5 percent in poor to very poor condition.
The June precipitation pattern for much of the Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat agricultural belt was wetter than normal, with June 2014 ranking as the fourth wettest and 52nd warmest June region-wide. The June rains helped, but long-term deficits remained, with the growing season to date (October 1-present) ranking as the 42nd driest October-June in the 1895-2014 record and marking the fourth consecutive such season with below-average precipitation. The percent area of the winter wheat-producing areas in drought shrank from 54 percent at the beginning of May to 46 percent at the end of June, a drop of only 8 percent. With 43 percent of the winter wheat crop harvested as of June 29th, 44 percent was in poor to very poor condition, about the same as two months ago.
A more detailed drought discussion, provided by the NOAA Regional Climate Centers and others, can be found below.
West — Pacific Islands
As described by the High Plains Regional Climate Center, June brought a wide variety of weather to the High Plains region. Much of southern Wyoming and western and central Colorado was dry with precipitation totals reaching 50 percent of normal at most. Alamosa, Colorado, located in the southern part of the state, had its 4th driest June on record with only 0.02 inch (1 mm) of precipitation. Only 3 other times had June been drier, with just a Trace, in 2011, 1980, and 1946 (period of record 1906-2014). Areas to the north and east, however dealt with multiple rounds of severe weather and heavy precipitation. In some areas, precipitation was quite welcome as this helped improve or eliminate drought and helped create excellent grazing and pasture conditions. However, areas with excessive rainfall dealt with flooding which washed out roads and bridges and inundated farmland. While most of the country had temperatures which were near normal, the upper Missouri River Basin was the cool spot in the nation with temperature departures generally up to 4.0 degrees F (2.2 degrees C) below normal.
According to the USDM, major improvements in drought conditions occurred in the High Plains region this month as heavy precipitation helped eliminate or ease drought conditions. Approximately 23 percent of the region was in moderate (D1) to exceptional (D4) drought at the end of June, down from 33 percent at the end of May. The extreme precipitation in South Dakota allowed for the elimination of all drought conditions there. Only a bit of abnormal dryness (D0) remained. In Nebraska, drought conditions were eliminated in the east and reduced in the central and southern parts of the state. Meanwhile in Kansas, all D4 was eliminated and a 25 percent reduction occurred in the extreme drought (D3) coverage. Parts of eastern Colorado also received ample precipitation and drought conditions were eased there as well. Other drought areas of Colorado persisted.
As explained by the Southern Regional Climate Center, June was a slightly warmer than normal month for the Southern region, and precipitation varied spatially with some areas remaining dry, while others received more than twice the monthly average. With the exception of Crockett, Terrell, and Val Verde Counties, southern Texas remained relatively dry as most stations averaged between 25 to 75 percent of normal precipitation for the month. Conditions were similarly dry in the Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas border region and also in eastern Oklahoma and eastern Tennessee. Conversely, it was quite wet in the Texas counties of Crockett, Terrell and Val Verde. Precipitation in this area averaged over twice the monthly average.
Drought conditions in the Southern region did not significantly change in the states of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana. Portions of easternmost Tennessee is, however, classified as moderate drought. In Texas and Oklahoma, drought conditions have remained relatively dire. Much of the state of Texas is still under the grip of moderate to severe drought, with extreme and exceptional drought covering much of the northern counties of the state. For Oklahoma, the majority of the state is experiencing severe drought or worse, with exceptional drought occurring in the panhandle the southern counties, and in north central portions of the state.
In Texas, rains across the state have helped farmers. Expected corn planting acreage and harvesting acreage are both down, at 11% and 10% respectively. Upland cotton acreage is up 11 percent from last year, and Pima cotton 44%, but with no estimates on harvests yet. Winter wheat came in 5% lower than 2013 with a 2% reduction in harvest numbers, which were already low in 2013. Sorghum seemed to be the big winner for harvests, where no change in acres planted has thus far seen a 9% increase in harvested acres. Other smaller crops are all doing better in 2014 than 2013 with the exception of rice, still struggling with no discharge out of the Colorado River, which is down 3%. The Colorado River is still struggling, with the Lower Colorado River Authority voting to increase water rates on customers from $151 to $174 per acre-foot and not to release water to farmers downstream. McKinney has entered revised stage 3 water restrictions, as has Rowlett, and continued in Garland, Plano, and Allen. Many regions around the state are acting to ban hydraulic fracturing in order to both conserve water and but at ease concerns about pollution; the TCEQ is drilling over 500 test wells to check for groundwater contamination from oil drilling. Where desalination is being considered, the high cost is concerning people, as an estimated average of $21.68 per month could be added to water bills to pay for the process. (Information provided by the Texas Office of State Climatology)
As summarized by the Midwest Regional Climate Center, June temperatures were slightly above normal in the Midwest and June precipitation was above average for most of the region. Only Kentucky was below normal for June while the other eight states were above normal, in some cases well above normal. The region as a whole ranked as the 4th wettest June in 120 years of records with more than 2.00 inches (51 mm) above normal. The wet conditions in June, especially in Minnesota and Iowa, reduced the footprint of drought in the Midwest. Minnesota became drought-free for the first time since July of 2011. Iowa also became drought-free taking the statewide percentage from 28 percent at the beginning of June to zero percent as of July 1st. Missouri was the only Midwest state with about 10 percent of the state in moderate drought. Significant parts of Missouri and Kentucky were noted as abnormally dry at the end of June. Although corn planting had largely wrapped up by the beginning of June, soybean planting was completed in June. Condition reports put both corn and soybeans at between 60 and 85 percent of the crops in good or excellent condition in all nine Midwest states. However, local flooding has damaged the crops in some locations.
As noted by the Southeast Regional Climate Center, precipitation was below average across much of the Southeast region in June and mean temperatures were variable across the region. Monthly temperatures were above average across much of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with San Juan, PR (1898-2014) recording its third warmest June on record. The driest locations were found across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as parts of central and eastern South Carolina, where monthly precipitation totals were less than 1 inch (25.4 mm), or about 20 to 40 percent of normal. San Juan, PR recorded its third driest June on record with 0.77 inch (19.6 mm) of precipitation, while Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas recorded just 0.14 inch (3.6 mm) of precipitation, marking its fourth driest June in a record extending back to 1953. Small changes were noted in the USDM across the Southeast in June. Areas of moderate drought (D1) and abnormally dry conditions (D0) were eliminated across South Florida and parts of extreme northern Alabama, while small areas of D0 and D1 were introduced across central portions of the Carolinas and extreme southwestern Virginia, respectively. By the end of June, more than 90 percent of the Southeast was free of any drought designation and very few agricultural impacts were noted. Lightning strikes triggered two separate brush fires totaling more than 12,000 acres across parts of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties in South Florida.
As explained by the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the Northeast was warmer and slightly wetter than normal during June. The region received 4.43 inches (112.52 mm) of precipitation, or 105 percent of normal. Only five states ended the month with above-normal precipitation, with departures for those states ranging from 103 percent of normal in Vermont to 119 percent of normal in Pennsylvania. As for the seven drier-than-normal states, Delaware had its 19th driest June on record at 61 percent of normal precipitation. Departures for the other dry states ranged from 52 percent of normal in Connecticut to 89 percent of normal in Maryland. At the start of June, a small portion of southern West Virginia was experiencing abnormal dryness, according to the USDM. By mid-month, abnormal dryness was introduced in parts of southern New England. By the end of June, dry conditions eased slightly in West Virginia; however, dryness lingered in southern New England and was introduced in parts of northern New England.
As summarized by the Western Regional Climate Center, the northern tier of the West saw above normal precipitation this month along with slightly below normal temperatures. The Southwest was primarily under the influence of typical summertime high pressure and remained mostly dry with temperatures somewhat warmer than normal.
The Southwest monsoon season officially began on June 15, though little to no precipitation was observed in the Southwest US monsoon region from this date through the end of the month. As is common in June, many southwestern locations did not receive any measurable precipitation this month including Los Angeles and Sacramento in California, Reno and Las Vegas in Nevada, and Phoenix and Flagstaff in Arizona. The Central Sierra received some beneficial precipitation on the 25th and 26th with the passage of an upper level low; several locations saw a storm total over 0.5 in (13 mm). Following a record wet spring, Seattle, Washington saw below normal precipitation for the first month since January. Seattle recorded 0.73 in (19 mm) of rainfall this month, 46% of normal. Drought conditions continued to expand throughout the West, with every state seeing expansion of a small area of abnormally dry conditions at the very least. Slight improvements in drought conditions were observed in small areas of eastern Washington, eastern New Mexico, and eastern Colorado.
Warmer than normal temperatures accompanied dry conditions in the Southwest. In northern California, Ukiah recorded an average temperature of 72.1 F (22.3 C) this month, 4.5 C (2.5 C) above normal and the warmest June since records began in 1949. Temperatures at Fresno, California, averaged to 80.9 F (27.2 C), tied with 2013 for the 4th warmest June in a 67-year record. Las Vegas, Nevada, saw 21 days with temperatures equal to or above 100 F (37.8 C); the normal for June is 15 days. This was the 5th warmest June on record at Las Vegas at an average 89.4 F (31.9 C). Further east, Tucson, Arizona recorded its 3rd warmest June at 88.9 F (31.6 C), 4.1 F above normal. The first half of 2014 has been the warmest on record for Tucson at an average 69.7 F (20.9 C). Tucson's records began in 1946.
The onset of typical hot, dry summer conditions further exacerbated the drought situation in many areas of the West. In Nevada, ranchers continue to scale back their herds and a few have sold their ranches. Farmers in Pershing County are receiving zero allocations of water this year, and fish die-offs are expected in several low water reservoirs. Nearly all of California's major reservoirs are reporting below average storage and mandatory water restrictions are in effect for many municipalities. Low water levels are impacting boating and recreation on some of California's lakes and reservoirs.
Above normal precipitation was observed throughout the eastern half of Alaska. In the far southeast, Ketchikan received 5.45 in (138 mm) of rainfall on June 22nd, the wettest June day since records began in 1910. Also in the southeast, Juneau logged its wettest June in a 79-year record at 7.46 in (189 mm), 230% of normal. Temperatures were cooler than normal throughout the state this month, especially in the Interior. Further south, precipitation was variable throughout Hawaii with many locations below normal on Big Island and in Maui County and above normal on Oahu and Kauai.
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.
Across the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands (maps — Micronesia, Marshall Islands, basinwide), June 2014 was wetter than normal at Lukonor, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Kwajalein, and Pago Pago and drier than normal at the other reporting stations. The June rainfall amounts were below 4 inches (a critical threshold amount for the Mariana Islands) at Saipan, below 8 inches (another critical threshold amount) at Guam, Kapingamarangi, and Kwajalein, and above 8 inches at the other stations. The 4- and 8-inch thresholds are important because, if monthly precipitation falls below the threshold, then drought becomes a concern.
As measured by percent of normal precipitation, Koror and Kapingamarangi have been drier than normal consistently for June, the last three months (April-June 2014), the year to date (YTD) (January-June 2014), and the last 12 months (July 2013-June 2014). June and the last three months were drier than normal, but the YTD and the last 12 months were wetter than normal, for Yap and Guam. The opposite was true (June and last three months wetter than normal, YTD and last 12 months drier than normal) for Kosrae. Chuuk and Saipan were drier than normal during June but wetter than normal for the other three time periods. Kwajalein and Majuro have had wetter-than-normal months recently, but Majuro registers as drier than normal in both the short term (June) and long-term (last 12 months).
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.):
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 June 2014, published online July 2014, retrieved on November 1, 2014 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/2014/6.