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Contact: Carmeyia Gillis
News Releases 2007
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Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration highlighted near term flooding in portions of the Midwest and Ohio Valley and continued drought in the Southwest as areas of concern from April through June in the agency’s 2007 Spring Outlook.
“NOAA’s National Hydrologic Assessment indicates a flooding potential this spring for southeast Colorado,” said Brig. Gen. David L. Johnson, U.S. Air Force (Ret.), director of NOAA’s National Weather Service. “The soil moisture is high, due to the melting of an above normal snowpack, which resulted from record snowfall in December and January.”
The upper Midwest is currently in the middle of its snowmelt. Warmer than normal temperatures in recent weeks have increased the risk of flooding due to ice jams over portions of eastern South Dakota, eastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, southern Wisconsin, and northern Illinois. In addition, high soil moisture over northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania and extreme southwestern New York state could lead to flooding if additional heavy precipitation occurs.
Scientists at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center said that precipitation during the December 2006-February 2007 U.S. winter season was above average in much of the center of the nation. Meanwhile, large sections of the East, Southeast, and West were drier than average.
Much of southern California just experienced its driest fall and winter in more than a century. “With the dry season fast approaching, there are major concerns that drought conditions will not only fail to improve but actually worsen in coming months,” said Doug Lecomte, drought specialist for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The outlook for any significant drought improvement from now through spring looks grim for not only southern California but for much of the Southwest as well.”
In addition, Florida is approaching its dry season. Abnormally dry winter weather over the southern half of the peninsula has brought fire danger indices to abnormally high conditions.
“The National Interagency Fire Center’s Seasonal Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for February through June 2007 calls for the potential for significant wildfire activity to be higher than normal this spring over portions of the southern tier of states and northern Minnesota,” said Tom Wordell, Wildland National Interagency Fire Center fire analyst.
As of March 13, there have been approximately 9,748 wildfires encompassing 137,554 acres. This is 112 percent of the average number of fires, and 63 percent of average total acreage to date.
The U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for drought conditions persisting or intensifying through June over much of the Southwest, potentially spreading into portions of Utah and western Colorado. Drought conditions are also expected to persist across peninsular Florida. Some improvement is predicted over the extreme northern Plains as well as portions of Texas and Oklahoma.
For the nation as a whole, the U.S. Spring Outlook for April through June is for increased chances of below-normal precipitation from the central Rockies into much of Nevada and the southern half of California, as well as Louisiana, eastern Texas, and eastern Oklahoma. The remainder of the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, has equal chances of above, near or below normal precipitation.
Meanwhile, above normal temperatures are more likely across a wide area of the country, from the West through the Plains into the Southeast, while below normal temperatures are likely for southwest California and Hawaii. The remainder of the country has equal chances of above, near or below normal temperature.
An equal chance, either for temperature or precipitation, is predicted when there are no reliable and skillful signals on which to base the seasonal outlook.
NOAA wants to remind everyone that springtime weather can often bring severe storms. NOAA has a variety of weather safety information online to help keep you safe. Everyone should have a NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards to stay ahead of the storms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
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On the Web:
NOAA’S National Weather Service: http://nws.noaa.gov
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov
National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov
NOAA’s Seasonal Outlooks: http://www.magazine.noaa.gov/stories/mag143.htm
2007 Hydrologic Assessment: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/oh/nic/nho