The footprint of drought on the U.S. Drought Monitor map shifted south and west during the week that ended April 30, intensifying in southeast Colorado, New Mexico and other spots. Statistics released with the map showed a decrease in the overall area of the 48 contiguous states in moderate drought or worse, to 46.90percent, from 47.34 percent the week before, but some areas intensified. The area in severe drought or worse increased, to 32.73 percent, from 31.75 percent the area in extreme drought or worse decreased to 13.96 percent, from 14.72 percent and the area in exceptional drought increased to 3.4 percent from 2.59 percent. Drought coverage is now down 14.19 percentage points since the beginning of 2013 and down 18.55 points from the record high of 65.45 percent on September 25, 2012.
A sluggish cut-off system lifting northeastward out of the Deep South early this week will be the main focus for precipitation across the Eastern U.S.. Deep Atlantic moisture getting pulled in ahead of a wrapped up cold front slowly moving up the Eastern Seaboard will fuel moderate to heavy rains, with embedded thunderstorms, across portions of the Tennessee Valley and Mid-Atlantic States. Heavy rains and possible flash flooding will be possible over the eastern slopes of the Southern and Central Appalachians.
Upstream, a second cut-off low drifting southward off the California Coast will bring unsettled weather across much of the Western U.S.. Initially precipitation will be fairly isolated, but as the closed low begins to move inland towards the four corner states and moisture increases across the Southwest, Great Basin, and Southern to Central Rockies, shower and thunderstorm activity will become more widespread.
According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous United States during March 2013 was 40.8°F, 0.9°F below the 20th century average.
It was the 43rd coolest March on record. Colder temperatures dominated east of the Rockies, and warm conditions prevailed in the West.
Areas of light snow and snow showers will begin to taper off across the Midwest on Thursday as the storm system responsible for it slowly moves northeast.
Snow showers will linger across the Ohio Valley into the Appalachians and into New England through the next several days.
Locallized accumulations of 1-2 are possible on Thursday, with locally higher amounts. Higher elevations of upstate New York and New England could see as much as 6-12 inches.
2012 was a historic year for extreme weather that included drought, wildfires, hurricanes and storms; however, tornado activity was below average, according to an analysis released today by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. The average temperature for 2012 was 55.3Â°F, 3.2Â°F above the 20th century average, and 1.0Â°F above 1998, the previous warmest year.
The western half of the continental U.S. and central and northern Alaska could be in for a warmer-than-average winter, while most of Florida might be colder-than-normal December through February, according to NOAA’s annual Winter Outlook recently announced.
Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for a large area of the lower Midwest, eastern Great Lakes and central Appalachians as well as portions of the Northeast.
A frontal boundary extends southeastward from the low centered over central Michigan into the Mid-Atlantic States and off the coast of South Carolina. Radars and surface observations indicated a large area of mainly light snow across much of the lower and eastern Midwest, Ohio River Valley and Great Lakes. Light snow was reported as far south as the mountains of eastern Tennessee. Across New England, light snow was falling across Vermont, New Hampshire and portions of upstate New York.
Behind the cold front cold polar air mass had pushed all the way into the deep South, with temperatures in the 30s. Strong winds were reported in many areas of the Great Lakes, Ohio River Valley and Appalachians where wind gusts of 30 to 50 MPH or higher have been observed.
According to NOAA scientists, the average temperature for the contiguous United States during November was 44.1°F (2.1°F above the 20th century average), tying 2004 as the 20th warmest November on record.
The period of January-November was the warmest first 11 months of any year on record for the contiguous United States.
On the Plains, dry weather accompanies record-setting warmth across the southern half of the region, where Friday high temperatures will again approach 90°. Meanwhile, cooler air is edging into Montana and the Dakotas. Winter wheat continues to struggle to emerge and become established across parts of the High Plains, with a significant portion of the crop rated very poor to poor in South Dakota (61%) and Nebraska (49%).
Across the Corn Belt, cool, breezy conditions across much of the region contrast with mild weather south and west of the Missouri River. Corn and soybean harvest efforts are nearing completion, except in the eastern Corn Belt.
In the South, warmer air is expanding eastward through the Gulf Coast States. Dry weather favors fieldwork, including winter wheat planting and cotton, peanut, and soybean harvesting. Producers in the southern Mid-Atlantic region are assessing the effects of Sandy’s wind and rain on crops, including open-boll cotton.
In the West, mild, dry weather prevails, except for a few showers in the northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. Northwestern winter grains are benefiting from late-season warmth and recent soil moisture improvements.
Heavy snowfall is expected to continue through Tuesday night across portions of the central and southern Appalachians as sufficiently deep cold air persists around the southwestern flank of what is now post-tropical cyclone Sandy. Sandy will steadily weaken over the next few days and this will allow the heavy snowfall threat to diminish, especially by later Wednesday as the system begins lifting northward and away from the region.
Total snowfall amounts for the event of 2 to 3 feet with locally higher amounts are expected through Wednesday especially over the higher terrain of central West Virginia. Snowfall totals of 1 to 2 feet are expected in the mountains of southwestern West Virginia down to the Kentucky border, with 12 to 18 inches of snow expected in the mountains along the North Carolina/Tennessee border and in the mountains of far western Maryland.