Floods and Drought in NOAA Forecast

April 2, 2008

A wet, snowy winter has set the table for spring flooding in much of the eastern US and a few western states. NOAA published a forecast on March 20, 2008, of the areas most likely to get swamped. Among the states at risk are "much of the Mississippi River basin, the Ohio River basin, the lower Missouri River basin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, most of New York, all of New England, and portions of the West, including Colorado and Idaho."

The same press release notes that the wet winter has reduced the drought that had been shriveling much of the country, though sizable drought-burdened areas remain, and are expected to grow once again this spring. A map of the current drought situation is included. In many settings, the precipitation bucked the expected prediction of what should occur with the ongoing La Nina in the equatorial Pacific that influences US weather.

A March 13, 2008, press release from the agency provides a reminder that the expected overall warming of the planet won't occur in a straight line. Winter temperatures in the US and worldwide were once again above average, but were the coolest since 2001. The average masks variations, such as warmer-than-average temperatures from Texas to the Southeast to much of the East Coast, and cooler-than-average temperatures in many other locations.

    • NOAA press release (which also includes information on sometimes puzzling and volatile global patterns this past winter).