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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 2000 - December
U.S. Regional and Statewide Analyses

Includes Annual Summary

National Climatic Data Center, 12 January 2001

Standard Regions for Temperature and Precipitation
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Contents of This Report:

Line separating section as of the report 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 current climate anomalies can be found at the respective Web Pages of the Southern Regional Climate Center, Western Regional Climate Center, Midwest Regional Climate Center, Southeast Regional Climate Center, High Plains Regional Climate Center, and the Northeast Regional Climate Center.

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Top of Page December 2000 Statewide Ranks

December Tmp Map
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December 2000 was the second coldest such month on record for Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri and the third coldest such month since 1895 for Alabama, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina. Sixteen other states ranked within the top ten cold portion of the distribution.

A total of 38 states ranked within the cold third portion of the distribution.

Only four states (AZ, CA, NV, UT) ranked within the warm third portion of the historical distribution for December 2000.

It was the ninth wettest December on record for Wyoming. Six other states ranked within the wet third portion of the distribution.

It was the sixth driest December since 1895 for California, seventh driest for Washington, eighth driest for North Carolina and Oregon and the tenth driest December on record for Arizona. Twelve other states ranked within the dry third portion of the distribution.

Dec Pcp Map
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Top of Page December Regional Highlights

Based upon preliminary data, December 2000 was the third coldest such month since 1895 for the Central region. Eight of the last eleven Decembers have been above to much above the long term mean. Cool Region Dec
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Warm Region Dec
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It was the twelfth warmest December on record for the West region. Four of the last six such months have been above the long-term mean.

December 2000 was the fifth driest such month since 1895 for the West region. The last four, and 13 of the last 17, such months have been below to much below the long-term mean. Dry Region Dec
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Agricultural Belt Pcp
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Preliminary data indicate that precipitation for the growing season-to-date, October-December 2000, averaged above the long-term mean as the eighth wettest such period on record for the Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt. The wettest such three-month period was just two years ago.
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Top of Page November-December 2000 Statewide Ranks

November-December Tmp Map
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The two-month period, November-December 2000, was not only the coldest such period on record for the contiguous U.S., it was the coldest such period on record for Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma and the second coldest such period since 1895 for Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Nineteen other states ranked within the top ten cold portion of the distribution.

A total of 43 states ranked within the cold third portion of the distribution.

No state ranked within the warm third portion of the historical distribution for November-December 2000.

It was the sixth wettest November-December on record for North Dakota, the seventh wettest for Texas and the ninth wettest such period since 1895 for Louisiana. Eleven other states ranked within the wet third portion of the distribution.

It was the second driest November-December on record for Washington, third driest for California, fifth driest for Oregon and the tenth driest such two-month period since 1895 for West Virginia. Nine other states ranked within the dry third portion portion of the distribution.

Nov-Dec Pcp Map
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Current and historical drought information can be found at the U.S. Drought page. Additional drought information can also be found at the Web Page for the National Drought Mitigation Center. The Center monitors current droughts both in the United States and worldwide.

Damage due to the drought has been summarized by NOAA and the Office of Global Programs in the Climatological Impacts section of the Climate Information Project. Crop impact information can be found at the USDA NASS (National Agricultural Statistics Service) and Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin pages. Drought statements by local National Weather Service Offices can be found at the NWS Hydrologic Information Center. Drought threat assessments and other information can be found at NOAA's Drought Information Center.

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Top of Page December Precipitation and Temperature Ranks, Extremes and Normals

Table 1 shows precipitation and temperature ranks for each of the 9 regions and the nation for December 2000, the two-month period of November-December 2000, the six months of July-December 2000, and the past 12 months, January-December 2000.
             PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE RANKS, BASED
             ON THE PERIOD 1895-2000.  1 = DRIEST/COLDEST,
             106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR DECEMBER 2000,
             106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR NOV-DEC 2000,
             106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR JUL-DEC 2000,
             106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR JAN-DEC 2000.

                        DEC    NOV-DEC    JUL-DEC    JAN-DEC
    REGION              2000     2000       2000       2000
    ------              ----  ---------  ---------  ---------

              PRECIPITATION:

   NORTHEAST             69       46         39         84
   EAST NORTH CENTRAL    64       82         56         65
   CENTRAL               36       42         34         42

   SOUTHEAST             20       48         14          6
   WEST NORTH CENTRAL    58       84         62         47
   SOUTH                 36       97         26         38

   SOUTHWEST             22       43         55         42
   NORTHWEST              8        4         10         23
   WEST                   5        4         16         48

   NATIONAL              14       42         18         24

              TEMPERATURE:

   NORTHEAST             16       19          8         58
   EAST NORTH CENTRAL     3        7         20         88
   CENTRAL                3        2          7         63

   SOUTHEAST              5        8          9         41
   WEST NORTH CENTRAL    13        7         33         91
   SOUTH                  6        1         30         91

   SOUTHWEST             73       18         72        105
   NORTHWEST             34       12         31         82
   WEST                  95       46         64        101

   NATIONAL               7        1         21         94

           *National Temperature Rank Based on a combination
            of USHCN and divisional data.

It should be emphasized that all of the temperature and precipitation ranks and values in Tables 1 through 3 are based on preliminary data. The ranks will change when the final data are processed.


Top of Page Table 2 shows historical extremes for December, the 1961-1990 normal, and the December 2000 value for each of the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S. for precipitation and temperature. It should be noted that the 2000 values will change when the final data are processed.
                                  PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
                           DRIEST     WETTEST   NORMAL  2000
       REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   PCPN   PCPN
       ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

      NORTHEAST           0.98 1955  6.74 1973   3.45   3.49
      EAST NORTH CENTRAL  0.37 1943  2.62 1982   1.44   1.34
      CENTRAL             0.90 1958  7.58 1990   3.44   2.49

      SOUTHEAST           1.18 1955  7.05 1953   3.87   2.48
      WEST NORTH CENTRAL  0.19 1986  1.20 1917   0.65   0.61
      SOUTH               0.64 1917  5.51 1911   2.49   2.06

      SOUTHWEST           0.11 1929  2.29 1965   0.96   0.47
      NORTHWEST           1.17 1976  8.42 1996   4.03   1.92
      WEST                0.09 1989  7.05 1955   2.33   0.58

      NATIONAL            1.22 1958  3.60 1982   2.30   1.58*

                          * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                            INTERVAL + OR - 0.09 INCHES

                             TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)
                           COLDEST    WARMEST   NORMAL  2000
       REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   TEMP   TEMP
       ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

      NORTHEAST           13.3 1989  34.5 1923   26.6   22.2
      EAST NORTH CENTRAL   6.9 1983  29.0 1923   18.6    9.7
      CENTRAL             21.9 1989  42.0 1923   33.0   23.3

      SOUTHEAST           39.3 1989  55.9 1931   47.3   41.2
      WEST NORTH CENTRAL   4.3 1983  30.0 1939   19.4   14.9
      SOUTH               33.6 1983  51.0 1933   43.5   37.2

      SOUTHWEST           24.8 1909  39.9 1980   32.6   34.3
      NORTHWEST           21.9 1990  37.9 1917   29.4   29.3
      WEST                33.0 1990  45.6 1929   38.7   42.2

      NATIONAL            25.8 1983  38.5 1939   33.3   28.9

              *National Temperature Rank Based on a combination
               of USHCN and divisional data.

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Top of Page Water Year River Basin Statistics, October-November 2000

Table 3 shows statistics for selected river basins: Precipitation rankings are for October-December 2000, where 1 = driest, and 106 = wettest, based on the period 1895 to 2000. 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, as of November 2000.

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

  MISSOURI BASIN                     87         14.0%    9.6%
  PACIFIC NORTHWEST BASIN             9         15.5%    0.0%
  CALIFORNIA RIVER BASIN             13         37.6%    0.0%

  GREAT BASIN                        71          0.0%    0.0%
  UPPER COLORADO BASIN               71          0.0%    0.0%
  LOWER COLORADO BASIN               92         10.4%    0.0%
  RIO GRANDE BASIN                  101          0.0%    0.0%

  ARKANSAS-WHITE-RED BASIN           99          0.0%    0.0%
  TEXAS GULF COAST BASIN             93          0.0%    0.0%
  SOURIS-RED-RAINY BASIN            100          0.0%   88.6%
  UPPER MISSISSIPPI BASIN            53          0.0%    1.3%

  LOWER MISSISSIPPI BASIN            71         11.2%    0.0%
  GREAT LAKES BASIN                  34         16.2%   15.0%
  OHIO RIVER BASIN                   20          0.4%    7.6%
  TENNESSEE RIVER BASIN              14          0.0%    0.0%

  NEW ENGLAND BASIN                  56          0.0%    7.7%
  MID-ATLANTIC BASIN                 12          3.0%    0.0%
  SOUTH ATLANTIC-GULF BASIN          21         20.6%    0.0%

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

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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.

Historical precipitation and temperature ranking maps are also available on the Internet courtesy of the Climate Prediction Center.

NOAA works closely with the academic and scientific 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 from the Climate Prediction Center.

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For all climate questions other than questions concerning this report, please contact the National Climatic Data Center's Climate Services Division:

Climate Services Division
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4876
phone: 828-271-4800
email: ncdc.info@noaa.gov
For further information on the historical climate perspective presented in this report, 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-

Jay Lawrimore
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center
151 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801-5001
fax: 828-271-4328
email: jay.lawrimore@noaa.gov
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