For Friday, a Critical Fire Weather Risk area is in effect for far southern Nevada, extreme southern Utah, northern Arizona, west central and northwest New Mexico, and southwest Colorado.
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.
Here is a look at some of the potential or ongoing weather hazards and headlines ahead in the days to come:
Heavy rain for parts of the upper and middle Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region, May 2-3.
Much above normal temperatures for parts of southern Washington, western and central Oregon, western Nevada, and much of California, May 2-5.
Much below normal temperatures for much of the High Plains and parts of the lower Mississippi Valley, May 2-4.
High winds for parts of the central and southern Plains, May 2.
River flooding possible or occurring for parts of the middle/upper Mississippi Valley, Midwest, Great Lakes region and northern Great Plains.
River flooding possible for the Red River of the North.
Severe drought for parts of northern Florida, upper Mississippi Valley, Great Plains, Rio Grande Valley, Rockies, Southwest and the Great Basin.
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.
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.
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.
Tracking Sandy? Be prepared: Get the latest forecast, advisories, radar images, fact sheets, links to preparedness resources and more at this comprehensive webpage.
The United States Department of Agriculture Drought Portal provides resources and information related to the current drought crisis from across the Government. Throughout much of the country, communities are struggling with one of the worst droughts to strike the U.S. in decades. The lack of rain and high temperatures have done considerable damage to crops — particularly those in the Midwest. USDA and other federal agencies are taking steps to help farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with this crisis.
The 2012 drought follows a warm winter with unusually low snow cover over the Great Plains, and dry conditions in much of the Southwest, Southeast and sections of the Great Plains due, in part, to 2 La Nina winters in a row.