Update on the snow drought

The snow water equivalent is below 50 percent in parts of the southwestern quarter of the U.S.

Snow Drought, April 11, 2021
Snow Drought, April 11, 2021.

I learned years ago that it is folly in February, March, or April to attempt to predict the outcome of the summer/fall wildfire season in the Western United States. If the weather in the summer is relatively cool and wet, the fire season will not be extremely busy.

Having said that, a glance at the snow water equivalent dated April 11 shows that it is far below normal in the Western states except for Washington, Oregon, Montana, and northern Idaho.

It is below 50 percent in some areas of California, Utah, Arizona, South Dakota, and New Mexico. In southeast Arizona it is zero to four percent of average.

Couple that with the higher than average temperatures and lower than average precipitation expected in some of these areas and, dare I say it, if the predictions are correct, there could be more wildfire activity than average in the southwestern one-quarter of the U.S. this year.

The following outlooks were produced about three weeks ago, so they should be taken with a grain of salt.

Precipitation outlook May through July, 2021
Precipitation outlook May through July, 2021.
Precipitation outlook, May through July, 2021
Precipitation outlook, May through July, 2021.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.