National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Logo Climate Monitoring / Climate of 2000 / Help

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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

Includes Drought Update

National Climatic Data Center, 13 March 2000

Standard Regions for Temperature and Precipitation
larger image
Bluebar
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.

Bluebar

Table 1 shows precipitation and temperature ranks for each of the 9 regions and the nation for February 2000, the two-month period of January-February 2000, the six months of September 1999-February 2000, and the past 12 months, March 1999-February 2000.

             PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE RANKS, BASED
             ON THE PERIOD 1895-2000.  1 = DRIEST/COLDEST,
             106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR FEBRUARY 2000,
             106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR JAN-FEB 2000,
             105 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR SEP 1999-FEB 2000,
             105 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR MAR 1999-FEB 2000.

                        FEB    JAN-FEB   SEP 1999-  MAR 1999-
    REGION              2000     2000    FEB 2000   FEB 2000
    ------              ----  ---------  ---------  ---------

              PRECIPITATION:

   NORTHEAST             56       51         95         47
   EAST NORTH CENTRAL    71       42          8        101
   CENTRAL               78       45         15          8

   SOUTHEAST              6       14         46         15
   WEST NORTH CENTRAL   106      106         49         79
   SOUTH                 16        7          3         16

   SOUTHWEST             62       47          6         72
   NORTHWEST             66       71         48         43
   WEST                  96       90         46         42

   NATIONAL              53       37         11         23

              TEMPERATURE:

   NORTHEAST             90       81         95        101
   EAST NORTH CENTRAL   100      101        101        103
   CENTRAL              101       97        102         96

   SOUTHEAST             83       69         71         67
   WEST NORTH CENTRAL    93      102        105        104
   SOUTH                102      106        102         99

   SOUTHWEST            102      104        104        102
   NORTHWEST             90       94        101         85
   WEST                  88      104        104         87

   NATIONAL             104      106        104        103


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

Bluebar
Top of Page

Table 2 shows historical extremes for February, the 1961-1990 normal, and the February 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           0.70 1987  5.43 1900   2.65   2.63
      EAST NORTH CENTRAL  0.31 1987  2.40 1922   0.95   1.14
      CENTRAL             0.67 1947  5.46 1909   2.64   3.18

      SOUTHEAST           1.36 1898  7.45 1998   4.15   1.68
      WEST NORTH CENTRAL  0.30 1985  1.16 2000   0.55   1.16
      SOUTH               0.66 1916  5.63 1903   2.30   1.33

      SOUTHWEST           0.14 1972  2.07 1980   0.80   0.88
      NORTHWEST           0.69 1920  5.95 1904   2.86   3.32
      WEST                0.21 1964  7.57 1998   2.27   4.74

      NATIONAL            0.96 1947  3.20 1998   1.98   1.99*

                          * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                            INTERVAL + OR - 0.15 INCHES

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

      NORTHEAST           11.6 1934  31.8 1998   23.3   27.5
      EAST NORTH CENTRAL   1.1 1936  31.6 1998   17.6   26.9
      CENTRAL             20.6 1978  41.8 1930   32.2   40.8

      SOUTHEAST           37.8 1895  56.4 1927   47.1   51.1
      WEST NORTH CENTRAL   2.7 1936  34.5 1954   22.2   28.5
      SOUTH               33.7 1905  53.5 1930   45.2   53.1

      SOUTHWEST           25.1 1903  42.8 1995   35.9   40.9
      NORTHWEST           23.3 1933  39.7 1963   33.5   36.5
      WEST                32.6 1903  48.8 1963   42.7   45.3

      NATIONAL            26.3 1899  42.1 1954   34.3   40.3*

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


 
Bluebar
Top of Page

Table 3 shows statistics for selected river basins: Precipitation rankings are for October 1999-February 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 February 2000.

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

  MISSOURI BASIN                     22          0.0%   19.3%
  PACIFIC NORTHWEST BASIN            64          0.0%    1.8%
  CALIFORNIA RIVER BASIN             52         37.6%    0.0%

  GREAT BASIN                        36          0.8%    0.0%
  UPPER COLORADO BASIN               11          0.0%    0.0%
  LOWER COLORADO BASIN                2         89.3%    0.0%
  RIO GRANDE BASIN                    4         58.0%    3.9%

  ARKANSAS-WHITE-RED BASIN           24          1.8%    3.7%
  TEXAS GULF COAST BASIN              7        100.0%    0.0%
  SOURIS-RED-RAINY BASIN              1          0.0%   23.0%
  UPPER MISSISSIPPI BASIN             9         10.4%    0.0%

  LOWER MISSISSIPPI BASIN             3         77.4%    0.0%
  GREAT LAKES BASIN                  17         18.9%    0.0%
  OHIO RIVER BASIN                   31         42.9%    0.0%
  TENNESSEE RIVER BASIN               7         39.6%    0.0%

  NEW ENGLAND BASIN                  45          0.0%    7.7%
  MID-ATLANTIC BASIN                 26          0.0%    0.0%
  SOUTH ATLANTIC-GULF BASIN          14         15.9%    0.0%


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

Bluebar

Top of Page February 2000 Temperature and Precipitation

February Tmp Map
Larger Map
Forty-six states ranked within the warm-third portion of the historical distribution for February 2000 while twenty states ranked within the top ten warm. It was the warmest February on record for Texas. Other rankings include:
  • Illinois - 4th warmest
  • Missouri - 4th warmest
  • New Mexico - 4th warmest
  • Oklahoma - 4th warmest
  • Arkansas - 5th warmest

No state ranked within the cool-third of the historical distribution.

It was the driest February on record for Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, the seventh driest February since 1895 for Florida, and the eighth driest February on record for Georgia. Thirteen other states ranked within the dry-third portion of the distribution.

It was the wettest February on record for Wyoming and Montana, and the sixth wettest February since 1895 for Nevada and Utah. Fifteen other states ranked within the wet-third portion of the distribution.

February Pcp Map
Larger Map
Preliminary February precipitation data for the Primary Hard Red Winter Wheat Belt indicate that the five-month growing season (The growing season runs October-February.) ended on a dry note. The October 1999-February 2000 period was the 23rd driest such growing season since 1895. The region had the wettest such period on record just last year. Agricultural Belt - February
larger image
Bluebar

Top of Page Palmer Drought Indices

The Palmer Z Index shows how monthly moisture conditions depart from normal (short-term drought and wetness). The February 2000 pattern shows extremely dry conditions over portions of the Southwest and from east Texas eastward through all of Louisiana, the southern two-thirds of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as portions of central and northern Georgia. The Palmer Z Index indicates that wet conditions occurred along portions of the Pacific Coast, and in parts of the northern and central Rockies.
U.S. Animated Z
larger animated image
The animated maps show the geographical pattern of the moisture anomalies for the last 12 months. On these maps, the red shading denotes dry conditions while the green shading indicates wet conditions.
The Palmer Drought Index maps show long-term (cumulative) drought and wet spell conditions. The drought in the Midwest continued in February while areal coverage and intensity decreased. Drought conditions in the Southwest expanded during February as did drought conditions in the southern Mississippi Valley. During the preceding twelve months, the area of wet conditions in the Great Plains steadily decreased in size until only a few areas, mainly in South Dakota and Colorado, remained wet at the end of February.
U.S. Animated PDI
larger animated image
The animated maps show how the geographical pattern of the long-term moisture conditions has changed over the last 12 months. On these maps, the red shading denotes drought conditions while the green shading indicates wet conditions.

Preliminary streamflow measurements by the United States Geological Survey can be found at the United States Geological Survey's web page.

bluebar

Top of Page South Region and Central Gulf Coast Precipitation Deficits

In the South region (which stretches from Kansas to Texas, then eastward to Mississippi), the present dry spell follows a 12-month period (July 1998-June 1999) that was generally wet (see left graph below). July 1999 - February 2000 ranked as the second driest such eight-month period since 1895, and exceeds the worst years of the 1950's. However, the southern Plains drought of the 1950's was characterized by year-after-year of extremely dry conditions, as seen in the graph below right.

Other statistics for the South region:

  • August 1999 - February 2000 = second driest
  • September 1999 - February 2000 = third driest
  • October 1999 - February 2000 = fourth driest
  • November 1999 - February 2000 = fourth driest
  • December 1999 - February 2000 = twelfth driest
  • January - February 2000 = seventh driest on record.

February 2000 was the 16th driest such month since 1895 for the South Region.

South Region Pcp Norm/Dep
larger image
South Region Pcp
larger image

In the Central Gulf Coast States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the three month period of December 1999 through February 2000 was the second driest such three-month period since 1895 (upper left graph, below). Only the winter of 1981 was drier. Each of these states had the driest February on record while it was the driest winter season on record for Louisiana.
Gulf Coast Area Pcp
larger image
Alabama PDI
larger image
Louisiana PDI
larger image
Mississippi PDI
larger image
The Palmer Drought Indices for Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are shown above. It can quickly be noted that drought conditions have been much worse than the present and for greater periods of time in Alabama. The Palmer Drought Index for Louisiana indicates that the present drought situation is the fourth worst in the 101-year period of record but longevity is yet to be seen. For Mississippi, the Palmer Drought Index indicates that the present drought situation is the ninth worst in the 101-year period of record but, there again, the longevity remains to be seen.
Current and historical 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.

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.

Bluebar
Top of Page

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 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.

Bluebar

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.orders@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-

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

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Logo NCDC / Climate Monitoring / Climate of 2000 / Help