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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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

Includes Drought Update and Year-to-Date Summary

National Climatic Data Center, 18 April 2000

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

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

                       MAR    FEB-MAR   OCT 1999-  APR 1999-
   REGION              2000     2000    MAR 2000   MAR 2000
   ------              ----  ---------  ---------  ---------

             PRECIPITATION:

  NORTHEAST             60       56         37         36
  EAST NORTH CENTRAL    21       34          3         69
  CENTRAL               21       41         12          8

  SOUTHEAST             37        9         17         23
  WEST NORTH CENTRAL    94      105         54         87
  SOUTH                 90       48         13         17

  SOUTHWEST             95       93         16         87
  NORTHWEST             40       58         60         39
  WEST                  34       79         40         39

  NATIONAL              55       54          6         26

             TEMPERATURE:

  NORTHEAST             99      102         98        104
  EAST NORTH CENTRAL   103      106        105        105
  CENTRAL               91      102        104        103

  SOUTHEAST             89       93         84         85
  WEST NORTH CENTRAL   100      103        105        103
  SOUTH                 89      105        105        103

  SOUTHWEST             75       98        104         96
  NORTHWEST             70       84        100         85
  WEST                  74       90        103         87

  NATIONAL              99      106        105        103

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 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           0.71 1915  6.56 1936   3.14   3.44
     EAST NORTH CENTRAL  0.21 1910  3.50 1977   1.89   1.13
     CENTRAL             0.55 1910  6.91 1897   3.92   2.63

     SOUTHEAST           1.54 1910  8.89 1980   4.75   3.75
     WEST NORTH CENTRAL  0.39 1994  2.10 1987   1.02   1.32
     SOUTH               0.89 1966  6.28 1973   2.83   3.53

     SOUTHWEST           0.20 1956  2.90 1905   1.02   1.73
     NORTHWEST           0.58 1965  5.46 1904   2.72   2.32
     WEST                0.09 1914  6.28 1907   2.23   1.34

     NATIONAL            0.91 1910  3.89 1973   2.47   2.36*

                         * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                           INTERVAL + OR - 0.29 INCHES

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

     NORTHEAST           25.1 1916  42.5 1946   33.4   38.9
     EAST NORTH CENTRAL  18.8 1960  42.2 1910   29.9   38.7
     CENTRAL             29.0 1960  53.0 1946   43.0   47.6

     SOUTHEAST           44.9 1960  63.2 1945   54.7   58.3
     WEST NORTH CENTRAL  19.1 1965  43.4 1910   31.2   37.1
     SOUTH               43.7 1915  62.6 1907   53.6   57.6

     SOUTHWEST           35.6 1917  49.0 1910   41.9   43.4
     NORTHWEST           31.0 1917  46.0 1934   38.6   39.5
     WEST                39.5 1897  55.0 1934   46.3   48.0

     NATIONAL*           37.5 1965  50.4 1910   43.9   47.4

                         * National Values based on USHCN

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

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

  MISSOURI BASIN                     42          1.4%   25.2%
  PACIFIC NORTHWEST BASIN            64          0.0%   10.6%
  CALIFORNIA RIVER BASIN             45         13.1%    0.0%

  GREAT BASIN                        36          0.8%    0.0%
  UPPER COLORADO BASIN               36          0.0%    0.0%
  LOWER COLORADO BASIN                6         32.4%    0.0%
  RIO GRANDE BASIN                    9         50.7%    3.9%

  ARKANSAS-WHITE-RED BASIN           57          0.0%   24.9%
  TEXAS GULF COAST BASIN             16         64.2%    0.0%
  SOURIS-RED-RAINY BASIN              2          0.0%    8.4%
  UPPER MISSISSIPPI BASIN             6         18.7%    0.0%

  LOWER MISSISSIPPI BASIN             5         63.9%    0.0%
  GREAT LAKES BASIN                  12         25.2%    0.0%
  OHIO RIVER BASIN                   17         61.2%    0.0%
  TENNESSEE RIVER BASIN               9         70.6%    0.0%

  NEW ENGLAND BASIN                  40          0.0%    0.0%
  MID-ATLANTIC BASIN                 32          0.0%    0.0%
  SOUTH ATLANTIC-GULF BASIN          16         20.1%    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 January-March 2000. Based on the period 1895-2000.

         1 = DRIEST/COLDEST, 106 = WETTEST/HOTTEST.

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

     NORTHEAST                   57            100
     EAST NORTH CENTRAL          20            106
     CENTRAL                     30            102

     SOUTHEAST                   17             80
     WEST NORTH CENTRAL         106            105
     SOUTH                       30            104

     SOUTHWEST                   82            101
     NORTHWEST                   66             89
     WEST                        79            102

     NATIONAL                    39            106

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Table 5 shows historical extremes for January-March, the 1961-1990 normal, and the January-March 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           6.10 1957 14.04 1900   8.63   9.07
     EAST NORTH CENTRAL  1.64 1958  6.13 1998   3.95   3.12
     CENTRAL             4.82 1941 16.22 1950   9.08   8.00

     SOUTHEAST           6.28 1907 19.95 1998  13.03   9.34
     WEST NORTH CENTRAL  1.46 1968  3.46 2000   2.18   3.46
     SOUTH               3.71 1967 12.30 1990   7.22   6.10

     SOUTHWEST           0.66 1972  6.65 1905   2.64   3.30
     NORTHWEST           4.79 1985 14.74 1904   9.38  10.00
     WEST                3.03 1972 15.17 1995   7.08   9.55

     NATIONAL            5.04 1910  9.54 1998   6.52   6.36

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

     NORTHEAST           20.5 1904  32.4 1998   25.9   29.9
     EAST NORTH CENTRAL  10.6 1912  28.4 2000   20.2   28.4
     CENTRAL             26.2 1978  41.9 1990   34.5   40.1

     SOUTHEAST           43.2 1978  54.7 1990   48.6   51.7
     WEST NORTH CENTRAL  14.6 1936  31.9 1992   23.3   30.0
     SOUTH               40.3 1978  53.2 1907   46.5   52.5

     SOUTHWEST           31.4 1937  42.2 1986   36.3   40.3
     NORTHWEST           26.5 1949  40.3 1934   33.5   35.9
     WEST                34.9 1949  48.1 1986   42.5   45.4

     NATIONAL*           32.2 1912  41.7 2000   36.7   41.7

                         * National Values based on USHCN

 
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Top of Page Regional Temperature - March 2000

Based upon preliminary data, March 2000 was the fourth warmest such month since 1895 for the East-North Central Region. Warm Region March
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Regional Precipitation - March 2000

It was the 17th wettest March on record for the South Region. For the last three years, March has been wetter than the long-term mean. Wet Region March
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Dry Region March
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Preliminary data suggest that March 2000 was the 21st driest such month since 1895 for the Central Region. For the last two years, March has been much drier than the long-term mean.

Seven of the last eight months have averaged drier than normal over much of the Primary Corn and Soybean agricultural belt. This recent persistent dryness has brought a shift in long-term Palmer drought conditions from moderate wet spell to severe drought for the agricultural belt as a whole. The severity of the March 2000 Palmer index rivals that of the 1970's and 1980's droughts, although those earlier droughts were of longer duration. The growing season for the Primary Corn and Soybean Belt runs from March through September.
Corn/Soybean
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Corn/Soybean PDI
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Top of Page Regional Temperature - January-March 2000

Preliminary data indicate that the year-to-date, January-March 2000, was the second warmest such period on record for the West-North Central Region. The last three such periods have been much above the long-term mean. Warm Region Jan-Mar
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Regional Precipitation - January-March 2000

January-March 2000 was the wettest such period since 1895 for the West-North Central Region. Only four of the last eleven such periods have been above the long-term mean. Wet Region Jan-Mar
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Dry Region Jan-Mar
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January-March 2000 was the 17th driest such period on record for the Southeast Region.
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Top of Page March 2000 Statewide Ranks

March Tmp Map
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Forty-one states ranked within the warm-third portion of the historical distribution for March 2000 while eighteen states ranked within the top ten warm. Specific rankings include:
  • Minnesota - 3rd warmest
  • New Hampshire - 3rd warmest
  • Iowa - 4th warmest
  • Wisconsin - 4th warmest

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

It was the seventh driest March on record for Iowa. Twelve other states ranked within the dry-third portion of the distribution.

It was the third wettest March on record for Colorado and Kansas and the sixth wettest March since 1895 for Oklahoma and Wyoming. Nine other states ranked within the wet third portion of the distribution.

March Pcp Map
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Top of Page January-March 2000 Statewide Ranks

Jan-Mar Tmp Map
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Forty-seven states ranked within the warm-third portion of the historical distribution for January-March 2000 while thirty states ranked within the top ten warm. It was the warmest such year-to-date on record for Iowa, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin. Other rankings include:
  • Minnesota - 2nd warmest
  • Nebraska - 2nd warmest
  • South Dakota - 2nd warmest
  • Michigan - 3rd warmest
  • New Mexico - 3rd warmest
  • Texas - 3rd warmest

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

January-March 2000 was the third driest such period on record for Louisiana and the fifth driest such year-to-date since 1895 for Mississippi. Fifteen other states ranked within the dry-third portion of the distribution.

It was the wettest January-March on record for Wyoming and Montana, the third wettest such year-to-date since 1895 for Kansas and the fourth wettest January-March on record for Colorado. Eleven other states ranked within the wet-third portion of the distribution.

Jan-Mar Pcp Map
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Top of Page Palmer Drought Indices

The Palmer Z Index shows how monthly moisture conditions depart from normal (short-term drought and wetness). The March 2000 pattern shows extremely dry conditions stretching from the eastern Great Lakes and central Appalachians, across parts of the Ohio Valley, and into the central to northern Plains, as well as over parts of the Gulf coast and Pacific Northwest. The Palmer Z Index indicates that unusually wet conditions occurred from parts of the central and southern Plains to the Rockies.
U.S. Animated Z
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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. By the end of March 2000, long-term drought generally stretched across the southern tier states from southern California to the Southeast, then northward to the Ohio Valley, central Appalachians, and Great Lakes. Patchy long-term wet conditions were found across parts of the central and northern Plains and into the Rockies.
U.S. Animated PDI
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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.

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Top of Page 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. Line separating section as of the report 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.

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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.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

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