NOAA May Outlook: Warmer and Drier Than Normal Across the West

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Temperature outlook for May 2022. Credit: NOAA

The NOAA has released its outlook for May. Much of the west can expect conditions to be warmer and drier than average, which is bad news for those ski areas that remain open (Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth, Breckenridge, A-Basin, Winter Park, Timberline, Mt Bachelor). The northeast can expect average temperatures but above average precipitation.

Abridged discussion below:

The May 2022 temperature and precipitation outlook remains influenced to some degree by continuing La Nina conditions, but is also impacted by favored  blocking anticipated to continue into the month of May in the northeast Atlantic to Greenland. Other factors included boundary conditions such as extreme drought conditions from the Southwest to the central Rockies to the central and southern Plains. Anomalous snowpack also was considered for the northern High Plains due to recent strong spring snowstorms during mid to late April.

Predictions through the middle of the month of May favors above-normal temperatures for much of the West especially portions of the Southwest and the central and southern High plains. Expect below-normal temperatures from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes southward to the Tennessee Valley. Monthly mean below-normal temperatures are favored to remain even though there is uncertainty of the eventual forecast circulation the last 2 weeks in May.

The precipitation outlook favors below-normal monthly total precipitation amounts from the central West coast across the central and southern Great Basin, central and southern Rockies eastward to include most of the central and southern Plains. Although there is considerable uncertainty in the precipitation outlook, the forecast for much of the first half of the May suggests drier than normal conditions in this area. Drought conditions also in a minor way would tend to favor less re-cycling of local moisture for needed precipitation processes in some areas.

In vicinity and slightly downstream of favored troughing (forced by north Atlantic blocking) makes above-normal precipitation most likely for many areas in the eastern CONUS. Model guidance also favors above-normal precipitation for southern Alaska and portions of the northern High Plains.

Precipitation outlook for May 2022. Credit: NOAA

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