The tools from the Climate Prediction Center, a branch of the National Weather Service, allow users to view color-coded maps of categories of forecast conditions for their region relative to their average norms. The maps are available as either extended-range (6 to 10 days and 8 to 14 days) or long-range (1- and 3-month periods) forecasts. The latter predictions are available for up to one year in the future.
For extended-range forecast maps, red and blue areas show regions that are favored to experience above (red) or below (blue) normal five- or seven-day mean temperatures. Greens and browns show areas that are favored to see above (green) or below (brown) average 5- or 7-day total precipitation. Areas in white show places where 5- or 7-day mean temperature or total precipitation are favored to be near average.
On the long-range outlooks, white means something slightly different: white indicates equal odds for above, near or below average 1- or 3-month mean temperature or total precipitation.
On each map, outlines around areas of color indicate the probabilities for above- or below-average conditions with darker colors indicating a higher likelihood for the forecast category. These forecasts can help decision makers such as water managers improve productivity and reduce potential risk that could threaten the livelihoods and health of the people in their regions.