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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

December 1998-February 1999
U.S. Regional Analyses

National Climatic Data Center, March 12, 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 a historical perspective.

Information about NOAA's Regional Climate Centers can be obtained by setting your web browser to: http://met-www.cit.cornell.edu/other_rcc.html

A winter 1998-99 climate summary by the Southeast Regional Climate Center can be found at: http://water.dnr.state.sc.us/climate/sercc/products/seasonal_summaries/win98_99/index.html

The National Drought Mitigation Center's Drought Watch monitors current droughts both in the United States and worldwide. Additional information can be found at: http://enso.unl.edu/ndmc/watch/watch.htm

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Table 1 shows precipitation and temperature ranks for each of the 9 regions and the nation for the Winter Season 1998-99. Note: the Statewide Rank Maps are presented on the Statewide Analyses page.


    TABLE 1.  TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION RANKINGS FOR DEC 1998-  
              FEB 1999, BASED ON THE PERIOD 1895-96 TO 1998-99. 
              1 = DRIEST/COLDEST, 104 = WETTEST/HOTTEST.

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

    NORTHEAST                   65             96   
    EAST NORTH CENTRAL          38             96   
    CENTRAL                     83             98   

    SOUTHEAST                   39             93   
    WEST NORTH CENTRAL          80             97   
    SOUTH                       42            101   

    SOUTHWEST                    6             97   
    NORTHWEST                   99             78   
    WEST                        47             68   

    NATIONAL                    58            103   

It should be emphasized that all of the temperature and precipitation ranks in Table 1 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 Winter, the 1961-1990 normal, and the Winter 1998-99 value for each of the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S. for precipitation and temperature.


              TABLE 2.  EXTREMES, 1961-90 NORMALS, AND 1998-99 VALUES   
                        FOR WINTER  

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

              NORTHEAST           4.56 1980 13.97 1979   8.94   9.35
              EAST NORTH CENTRAL  1.61 1931  5.55 1969   3.50   3.12
              CENTRAL             4.24 1963 17.30 1950   8.60  10.42

              SOUTHEAST           5.77 1938 19.56 1998  12.15  10.95
              WEST NORTH CENTRAL   .84 1931  2.90 1969   1.81   2.06
              SOUTH               3.57 1918 13.12 1932   6.88   6.42

              SOUTHWEST            .93 1904  6.53 1993   2.58   1.28
              NORTHWEST           3.86 1977 15.73 1965  10.69  14.60
              WEST                2.52 1977 15.87 1969   7.18   7.02

              NATIONAL            4.08 1977  8.68 1998   6.35   6.50*   

                                  * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE   
                                    INTERVAL + OR -  .47 INCHES 

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

              NORTHEAST           16.6 1918  30.7 1932   23.7   28.1
              EAST NORTH CENTRAL   8.4 1936  26.2 1998   16.4   22.4
              CENTRAL             23.9 1978  40.8 1932   31.1   36.3

              SOUTHEAST           41.2 1978  55.5 1932   46.2   50.6
              WEST NORTH CENTRAL   9.5 1979  27.6 1992   19.4   25.0
              SOUTH               38.0 1905  48.6 1952   43.1   48.2

              SOUTHWEST           27.3 1933  38.4 1981   33.2   36.3
              NORTHWEST           21.7 1949  37.2 1934   30.5   32.2
              WEST                31.7 1949  43.9 1981   39.9   40.6

              NATIONAL            27.1 1979  36.6 1992   32.3   36.6*   

                                 * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE   
                                    INTERVAL + OR -  .2 DEG. F. 

 
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Preliminary data ranked Winter (Dec-Feb), 1998-1999 as the fourth warmest such winter season on record for the South Region. The last five such seasons have averaged above the long-term mean. For much of the 1998-1999 Winter season, the active storm track was north of the region and prevented cold-air outbreaks from moving southward from Canada and the Arctic. The South Region includes Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. Warm Region - Winter
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Cool Region - Winter
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Preliminary data ranked Winter (Dec-Feb), 1998-99 as the 37th warmest such winter season on record for the West Region. For much of the '98-99 Winter Season, the active storm track was north of the region and prevented cold-air outbreaks from moving onshore from the much-colder regions of the North Pacific or prevented cold Canadian air from migrating southwestward from areas east of the Rockies.
The last six such seasons have averaged above the long-term mean. The West Region includes California and Nevada.
Preliminary data ranked Winter (Dec-Feb), 1998/99 as the sixth wettest such winter season on record for the Northwest Region. Three of the last four such seasons have been much above the long-term mean. For much of the '98-99 Winter season, the active storm track brought Pacific-borne storms directly onshore from points in central California, northward. The Northwest Region includes Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Wet Region - Winter
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Dry Region - Winter
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Preliminary data ranked Winter (Dec-Feb), 1998/99 as the sixth driest such winter season on record for the Southwest Region. The Southwest Region includes Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. For much of the '98-99 Winter season, the active storm track was north of the four-corners region.
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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 here.

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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