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Drought Maps and Rain Forecast Maps

Submitted by on March 12, 2012 – 8:26 pm |  
Today’s regular GeoCurrents post mentions that this winter has been very dry in California. If any readers are interested in finding maps on drought conditions in the United States, I recommend Drought Monitor. One can find a variety of maps here, some covering the entire U.S., and others focused on specific regions.

As can be seen from the second map, California’s snowpack is currently very light. The U.S. Weather Service, however, is forecasting a series of storms to hit California over the next week. The Weather Service produces many superb maps. I find that its forecast precipitation maps can be astoundingly accurate. One has to read the text reports carefully, however, to assess reliability. When the various mathematical models employed by the forecasters are all in agreement, then their predictions will generally be spot-on.  When the the models conflict, accuracy plummets. I do wish that the service would keep a score-card of the different models, but that is perhaps asking too much.

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