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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 1999 - March
U.S. Regional and Statewide Analyses

National Climatic Data Center, April 14, 1999

Standard Regions for Temperature and Precipitation
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Through climate analysis, National Climatic Data Center scientists have identified nine climatically consistent regions within the contiguous United States which are useful for putting current climate anomalies into an historical perspective.

Additional information about the March Climate can be found at the respective Web Pages of the Southern Regional Climate Center and the Western Regional Climate Center.

Additional drought information can be found at the Web Page for the National Drought Mitigation Center. The Center monitors current droughts both in the United States and worldwide.

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Table 1 shows precipitation and temperature ranks for each of the 9 regions and the nation for March 1999, the two-month period of February-March 1999, the six months of October 1998-March 1999, and the past 12 months, April 1998-March 1999.

			  PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE RANKS, BASED
	               	  ON THE PERIOD 1895-1999.  1 = DRIEST/COLDEST,
        	          105 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR MARCH 1999,
       	        	  105 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR FEB-MAR 1999,
	               	  104 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR OCT 1998-MAR 1999,
        	          104 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR APR 1998-MAR 1999.

	                             MAR    FEB-MAR   OCT 1998-  APR 1998-
	         REGION              1999     1999    MAR 1999   MAR 1999
	         ------              ----  ---------  ---------  ---------

	                   PRECIPITATION:

	        NORTHEAST             65       53         50         68
	        EAST NORTH CENTRAL     8        7         69         54
	        CENTRAL               22       22         61         87

 	        SOUTHEAST             19        9         18         23
	        WEST NORTH CENTRAL    18       26        104         93
	        SOUTH                 79       26         90         36

	        SOUTHWEST              9        3         41         42
	        NORTHWEST             32       93         99        101
	        WEST                  35       62         41         74

	        NATIONAL              16       13         77         68

	                   TEMPERATURE:

	        NORTHEAST             54       84         93        102
	        EAST NORTH CENTRAL    75      103        101        104
	        CENTRAL               32       74         94        101

	        SOUTHEAST             21       46         97        102
	        WEST NORTH CENTRAL    95      104        102        103
	        SOUTH                 55       95        103        103

	        SOUTHWEST             91      100        103        100
	        NORTHWEST             59       66         80         95
	        WEST                  55       62         54         33

	        NATIONAL              69      100        104        104

It should be emphasized that all of the temperature and precipitation ranks in Tables 1 through 5 are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed.

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Table 2 shows historical extremes for March, the 1961-1990 normal, and the March 1999 value for each of the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S. for precipitation and temperature.


	                                  PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
	                                DRIEST     WETTEST   NORMAL  1999
	            REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   PCPN   PCPN
	            ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

	           NORTHEAST           0.71 1915  6.56 1936   3.14   3.52
	           EAST NORTH CENTRAL  0.21 1910  3.50 1977   1.89   0.86
	           CENTRAL             0.55 1910  6.91 1897   3.92   2.68

	           SOUTHEAST           1.54 1910  8.89 1980   4.75   3.15
	           WEST NORTH CENTRAL  0.39 1994  2.10 1987   1.02   0.69
	           SOUTH               0.89 1966  6.28 1973   2.83   3.26

 	           SOUTHWEST           0.20 1956  2.90 1905   1.02   0.42
	           NORTHWEST           0.58 1965  5.46 1904   2.72   2.08
	           WEST                0.09 1914  6.28 1907   2.23   1.41

	           NATIONAL            0.91 1910  3.89 1973   2.47   1.94*

 	                              * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
	                                INTERVAL + OR - 0.29 INCHES

	                                  TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)
	                                COLDEST    WARMEST   NORMAL  1999
	            REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   TEMP   TEMP
	            ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

	           NORTHEAST           25.1 1916  42.5 1946   33.4   33.2
	           EAST NORTH CENTRAL  18.8 1960  42.2 1910   29.9   32.5
	           CENTRAL             29.0 1960  53.0 1946   43.0   40.0

	           SOUTHEAST           44.9 1960  63.2 1945   54.7   52.1
	           WEST NORTH CENTRAL  19.1 1965  43.4 1910   31.2   35.8
	           SOUTH               43.7 1915  62.6 1907   53.6   53.5

	           SOUTHWEST           35.6 1917  49.0 1910   41.9   45.5
	           NORTHWEST           31.0 1917  46.0 1934   38.6   38.7
	           WEST                39.5 1897  55.0 1934   46.3   46.6

	           NATIONAL            36.1 1965  50.2 1910   42.4   43.3*

	                               * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
	                                 INTERVAL + OR - 0.3 DEG. F.

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Table 3 shows statistics for selected river basins: Precipitation rankings are for the hydrologic year-to-date, October-March 1998-1999, where 1 = driest, and 104 = wettest, based on the period 1895 to 1999. Also shown is the areal percent of the basin experiencing severe or extreme long-term (Palmer) drought, and areal percent of the basin experiencing severe or extreme long-term (Palmer) wet conditions.

	                                     PRECIPITATION  % AREA  % AREA
	       RIVER BASIN                       RANK        DRY     WET
	       -----------                   -------------  ------  ------

	       MISSOURI BASIN                    103          0.0%   19.1%
	       PACIFIC NORTHWEST BASIN            99          0.0%   31.0%
	       CALIFORNIA RIVER BASIN             46          0.0%   20.9%

	       GREAT BASIN                        32          0.0%    0.0%
	       UPPER COLORADO BASIN               35          0.0%    0.0%
	       LOWER COLORADO BASIN               14         32.4%    0.0%
	       RIO GRANDE BASIN                   74          0.0%    0.0%

	       ARKANSAS-WHITE-RED BASIN          100          0.0%    3.7%
	       TEXAS GULF COAST BASIN             87          0.0%    0.0%
	       SOURIS-RED-RAINY BASIN            104          0.0%   56.0%
	       UPPER MISSISSIPPI BASIN            75          4.8%    4.2%

	       LOWER MISSISSIPPI BASIN            60          0.0%    0.0%
	       GREAT LAKES BASIN                  36          4.1%    0.0%
	       OHIO RIVER BASIN                   49          0.0%    0.0%
	       TENNESSEE RIVER BASIN              58          0.0%    0.0%

	       NEW ENGLAND BASIN                  67          0.0%    7.7%
	       MID-ATLANTIC BASIN                 32         14.3%    2.7%
	       SOUTH ATLANTIC-GULF BASIN          19          9.7%    0.0%

The river basin regions are defined by the U.S. Water Resources Council.

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Table 4 shows precipitation and temperature ranks for each of the 9 regions and the nation for the year-to-date, January-March 1999, based on the period 1895-1999. 1 = DRIEST/COLDEST, 105 = WETTEST/HOTTEST.


	            REGION                PRECIPITATION  TEMPERATURE
	            ------                -------------  -----------

	           NORTHEAST                   95             83
	           EAST NORTH CENTRAL          36             95
	           CENTRAL                     63             73

	           SOUTHEAST                   31             67
	           WEST NORTH CENTRAL          37            101
	           SOUTH                       60             99

	           SOUTHWEST                    4            102
	           NORTHWEST                   94             85
	           WEST                        53             73

	           NATIONAL                    57            100

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Table 5 shows historical extremes for January-March, the 1961-1990 normal, and the January-March 1999 value for each of the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S. for precipitation and temperature.

	                        PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
	                                DRIEST     WETTEST   NORMAL  1999
	            REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   PCPN   PCPN
	            ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

	           NORTHEAST           6.10 1957 14.04 1900   8.63  11.68
	           EAST NORTH CENTRAL  1.64 1958  6.13 1998   3.95   3.58
	           CENTRAL             4.82 1941 16.22 1950   9.08  10.31

	           SOUTHEAST           6.28 1907 19.95 1998  13.03  10.84
	           WEST NORTH CENTRAL  1.46 1968  3.22 1987   2.18   2.05
	           SOUTH               3.71 1967 12.30 1990   7.22   7.50

	           SOUTHWEST           0.66 1972  6.65 1905   2.64   1.33
	           NORTHWEST           4.79 1985 14.74 1904   9.38  11.88
	           WEST                3.03 1972 15.17 1995   7.08   7.31

	           NATIONAL            5.04 1910  9.54 1998   6.52   6.66

                                  TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)
	                                COLDEST    WARMEST   NORMAL  1999
	            REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   TEMP   TEMP
	            ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

	           NORTHEAST           20.5 1904  32.4 1998   25.9   28.3
	           EAST NORTH CENTRAL  10.6 1912  28.4 1987   20.2   24.4
	           CENTRAL             26.2 1978  41.9 1990   34.5   37.0

	           SOUTHEAST           43.2 1978  54.7 1990   48.6   50.7
	           WEST NORTH CENTRAL  14.6 1936  31.9 1992   23.3   29.0
	           SOUTH               40.3 1978  53.2 1907   46.5   50.8

	           SOUTHWEST           31.4 1937  42.2 1986   36.3   40.8
	           NORTHWEST           26.5 1949  40.3 1934   33.5   35.4
	           WEST                34.9 1949  48.1 1986   42.5   43.5

	           NATIONAL            31.2 1979  40.2 1921   35.5   39.1
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March 1999 Regional Temperature and Precipitation

Preliminary data ranked March 1999 as the 15th warmest March on record for the Southwest Region. The dominant upper-level flow kept cooler air north of the region for most of the month. The last eight months of March have been at- to much-above the long term mean. Warm Region - MARCH
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Cool Region - MARCH
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Preliminary data ranked March 1999 as the 21st coolest March on record for the Southeast Region. During the second and fourth weeks of the month, significant polar air intrusions provided for the cooler than normal conditions.

Based upon preliminary data, March 1999 was the 27th wettest March on record for the South Region. Wet Region - MARCH
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Dry Region - MARCH
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March 1999 was the 8th driest March since 1895 for the East-North Central Region, based upon preliminary data. Just last year, during the El Niño event, the region experienced the fourth wettest March on record.
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January-March 1999 Temperature and Precipitation

The year-to-date, January-March 1999, was the 4th warmest January-March period on record for the Southwest Region. The dominant storm track has been north of the region thus allowing for warmer than normal temperatures. The last 11 such periods have been above- to much-above the long term mean. Warm Region - Jan-Mar
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Cool Region - Jan-Mar
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Preliminary data ranked January-March 1999 as the 33rd warmest January-March on record for the Central Region.

January-March 1999 was the 11th wettest January-March on record for the Northeast Region. Wet Region - Jan-Mar
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Dry Region - Jan-Mar
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Preliminary data ranked January-March 1999 as the 4th driest January-March on record for the Southwest Region. The same upper-level flow pattern which kept the region dry during March (see above) had persisted during most of the year-to-date as well. Nearly all precipitation episodes had been moving north of the region.
Preliminary data indicate that precipitation averaged across the Primary Corn and Soybean agricultural belt was below normal for the first month of the six-month growing season and ranked as the 20th driest March on record. Primary Corn and Soybean - March
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March 1999 Statewide Temperature and Precipitation

March Tmp Map
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Based upon preliminary data, March 1999 was the 9th warmest March for Montana and the tenth warmest March on record for Colorado. Fifteen other states ranked within the warm-third portion of the historical distribution. No state ranked within the top-ten cool portion of the distribution while 14 states ranked within the cool-third.
Based upon preliminary data, March 1999 was the third driest March on record for Wisconsin, fifth driest for Michigan, sixth driest for Colorado and Nevada, and seventh driest for Utah. Eighteen other states ranked within the dry-third of the distribution. No state ranked within the top-ten wet portion while only four ranked within the wet-third.
March Pcp Map
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January-March 1999 Statewide Temperature and Precipitation

Jan-Mar Temp Map
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Fifteen states ranked within the top-ten warm portion of the distribution for the year-to-date, January-March 1999. The year-to-date was the third warmest January-March for New Mexico, fourth warmest for Colorado and Wyoming, fifth warmest for Montana, Nebraska and Utah, and sixth warmest for Arizona. Twenty-two other states ranked within the warm-third portion of the distribution. No state ranked within the cool-third portion of the distribution for the year-to-date.
Six states ranked within the top-ten wet portion of the historical distribution for the year-to-date, January-March 1999, including the fifth wettest January-March on record for Connecticut and the sixth wettest for New Hampshire. Thirteen other states ranked within the wet-third portion of the distribution for the three-month period. It was the third driest January-March on record for Arizona and the sixth driest such period since 1895 for Colorado. Eight other states ranked within the dry-third portion of the historical distribution.
Jan-Mar Pcp Map
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It should be emphasized that all of the temperature and precipitation ranks on these maps are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed.

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March 1999 brought a change in the temperature pattern to the United States, when compared to February 1999. As noted earlier, March temperatures averaged cooler than normal along the Pacific coast and across the Southeast to Ohio Valley, while unusually warm average temperatures dominated much of the Rockies and northern Plains states and into New England. The animated maps show the geographical pattern of temperature anomalies for the last 12 months.
animated TZ anomaly maps for 1998/04-1999/03
Animated Map
On these standardized temperature anomaly maps, red indicates areas with mean monthly temperatures much warmer than normal (top 10 percentile), tan indicates warmer than normal (70-90 percentile), light blue indicates colder than normal (10-30 percentile), and dark blue indicates much colder than normal (bottom 10 percentile).
The Palmer Z Index, below, shows how monthly moisture conditions depart from normal (short-term drought and wetness). March 1999 was unusually wet in parts of the northern and central Plains, and unusually dry across much of the western U.S., the Great Lakes to Ohio Valley, and into the Southeast.
The animated maps show the geographical pattern of the moisture anomalies for the last 12 months. On these Z Index maps, the red shading denotes dry conditions while the green shading indicates wet conditions. animated Palmer Z Index maps for 1998/04-1999/03
Animated Map
The Palmer Drought Index Maps show long-term (cumulative) drought and wet conditions. Long-term wetness decreased across much of the United States during March 1999, but wet spell conditions continued across much of the Pacific Coast, northern and central Plains, and parts of New England. Long-term drought conditions intensified in the Southwest, Great Lakes, and from the Southeast to Mid-Atlantic states.
Animated Palmer Drought Index Maps
Animated Map
The animated maps show how the geographical pattern of the long-term moisture conditions has changed over the last 12 months. On these Palmer Drought Index maps, the red shading denotes drought conditions while the green shading indicates wet conditions.
The Palmer Crop Moisture Index is computed on a weekly basis by the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center and is useful for following the impact of precipitation anomalies on agriculture.
The Animated Crop Moisture Index maps show the change in topsoil moisture conditions during the first 13 weeks of 1999. Unusually wet conditions occurred from Texas to the Ohio Valley at the beginning of March, however much of the country experienced a drying trend during the last few weeks of this 3-month period. On these Crop Moisture Index maps, the red shading denotes dry conditions while the green shading indicates wet conditions. animated Palmer Crop Moisture Index maps for 1998/04-1999/03
Animated Map
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Florida Statewide Precipitation Deficit

Fl Pcp
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Moderate to severe long-term drought plagued Florida during March, a situation which has been developing over the past several months. Statewide precipitation averaged for both February and March over two inches below normal. In fact, precipitation has averaged below normal for eight of the last 12 months.
Based upon preliminary data, February-March 1999 was the fifth driest February-March period on record for Florida. The second wettest such two-month period since 1895 occurred just last year. February-March 1998 had abundant rainfall, a signature of El Niño conditions.
Fl Pcp graph
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For more information, refer to ...
References:

Thomas R. Karl and Albert J. Koscielny, 1982: "Drought in the United States: 1895-1981." Journal of Climatology, vol. 2, pp. 313-329.

Thomas R. Karl and Walter James Koss, 1984: "Regional and National Monthly, Seasonal, and Annual Temperature Weighted by Area, 1895-1983." Historical Climatology Series 4-3, National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC, 38 pp.

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center is the world's largest active archive of weather data. The preliminary temperature and precipitation rankings are available from the center by calling: 828-271-4800 or on the World Wide Web at: http:/www.ncdc.noaa.gov/ol/documentlibrary/cvb.html

Historical precipitation and temperature ranking maps are also available on the Internet at: http://nic.fb4.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/regional_monitoring/usa.html.

NOAA works closely with the academic and science communities on climate-related research projects to increase the understanding of El Niño and improve forecasting techniques. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center monitors, analyzes and predicts climate events ranging from weeks to seasons for the nation. NOAA also operates the network of data buoys and satellites that provide vital information about the ocean waters, and initiates research projects to improve future climate forecasts. The long lead climate outlooks are available on the Internet at: http://nic.fb4.noaa.gov.

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For further information, contact:

William Brown
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4328
email: william.brown@noaa.gov
-or-
Mike Changery
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4328
email: mchangry@ncdc.noaa.gov

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