Department of Commerce

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

December 1999-February 2000
U.S. Regional and Statewide Analyses

National Climatic Data Center, 13 March 2000

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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 the Winter Season (December 1999-February 2000), based on the period 1895-1896/1999-2000. 1 = DRIEST/COLDEST, 105 = WETTEST/WARMEST

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

    NORTHEAST                   33             87
    EAST NORTH CENTRAL          31            101
    CENTRAL                     49             97

    SOUTHEAST                    9             68
    WEST NORTH CENTRAL          97            104
    SOUTH                       12            105

    SOUTHWEST                   28            100
    NORTHWEST                   65             94
    WEST                        67            100

    NATIONAL                    16            105

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 (December 1999-February 2000), the 1961-1990 normal, and the Winter 2000 value for each of the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S. for precipitation and temperature.

                             PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
                           DRIEST     WETTEST   NORMAL  2000
       REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   PCPN   PCPN
       ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

      NORTHEAST           4.56 1980 13.97 1979   8.94   8.00
      EAST NORTH CENTRAL  1.61 1931  5.55 1969   3.50   2.96
      CENTRAL             4.24 1963 17.30 1950   8.60   8.54

      SOUTHEAST           5.77 1938 19.56 1998  12.15   7.91
      WEST NORTH CENTRAL  0.84 1931  2.90 1969   1.81   2.52
      SOUTH               3.57 1918 13.12 1932   6.88   4.88

      SOUTHWEST           0.93 1904  6.53 1993   2.58   1.90
      NORTHWEST           3.86 1977 15.73 1965  10.69  11.30
      WEST                2.52 1977 15.87 1969   7.18   8.60

       NATIONAL            4.08 1977  8.68 1998   6.35   5.65*

                          * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                            INTERVAL + OR - 0.47 INCHES

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

      NORTHEAST           16.6 1918  30.7 1932   23.7   27.1
      EAST NORTH CENTRAL   8.4 1936  26.2 1998   16.4   23.7
      CENTRAL             23.9 1978  40.8 1932   31.1   36.3

      SOUTHEAST           41.2 1978  55.5 1932   46.2   48.3
      WEST NORTH CENTRAL   9.5 1979  27.6 1992   19.4   27.1
      SOUTH               38.0 1905  48.7 2000   43.1   48.7

      SOUTHWEST           27.3 1933  38.4 1981   33.2   37.2
      NORTHWEST           21.7 1949  37.2 1934   30.5   33.5
      WEST                31.7 1949  43.9 1981   39.9   43.0

       NATIONAL           28.5* 1979  38.4 2000   33.8*  38.4*

                          * BASED ON USHCN DATA
 
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Top of Page Winter (December 1999-February 2000), Temperature and Precipitation
Winter 1999-2000 was the ninth wettest winter on record for the West-North Central Region. Only three such seasons in the last 23 years have been much above the long-term mean for precipitation. Wet Region - Winter
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Dry Region - Winter
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Preliminary data for the Southeast Region ranked winter 1999-2000 as the ninth driest such season since records began in 1895. Only three such seasons of the last eleven have been below the long-term mean.
Based upon preliminary data, winter 1999-2000 was the warmest winter season on record for South Region. The last six winter seasons have been above the long-term mean for this region. Warm Region - Winter
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Top of Page December 1999-February 2000 Statewide Temperature and Precipitation

Winter Tmp Map
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It was the warmest winter season on record for Oklahoma. Twenty other states ranked within the top ten warm portion of the distribution for winter 1999-2000, including:
  • Kansas - 2nd warmest
  • Montana - 2nd warmest
  • Nebraska - 2nd warmest
  • Missouri - 3rd warmest
  • Wyoming - 3rd warmest
No state ranked within the cool-third portion of the distribution.
Six states ranked within the top ten dry portion of the historical distribution for winter 1999-2000 including Louisiana, with the driest winter since 1895 (See the Drought Section in the February Regional page). Other ranks included:
  • Alabama - 3rd driest
  • Mississippi - 3rd driest
  • Arizona - 6th driest
  • New Mexico - 7th driest
  • Georgia - tenth driest

Winter 1999-2000 was the wettest such season on record for Wyoming and the fifth wettest for Montana. Nine other states ranked within the wet third portion of the distribution.

Winter 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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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://www.cpc.ncep.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