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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Climate of 2001 - March
U.S. Regional and Statewide Analyses

National Climatic Data Center, 12 April 2001

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Standard Regions for Temperature and Precipitation
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Contents of This Report:

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Top of Page March 2001 Statewide Ranks

March Statewide Ranking Map for Temperature
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March 2001 temperatures were generally above normal in the western third of the nation and generally below normal in the eastern half of the nation. Temperatures in the Central Plains, Florida, the extreme Northeast and around the western Great Lakes were near normal. Nineteen states ranked within the cool third portion of the historical distribution while eleven states ranked within the warm third portion. Nevada had its fifth warmest March out of 107 years of record.

In Alaska, temperatures averaged across the state were above normal. This resulted in the twenty-second warmest March since records began in 1918. Eighteen of the last twenty-four Marches have been warmer than normal.

Rains brought drought relief to some southern states in March. In general, above normal precipitation occurred in the southern tier states and along the eastern seaboard. This resulted in twenty states falling into the wet third portion of the historical distribution. Included were Rhode Island and Massachusettes which had their second wettest March in 107 years. Other top ten rankings were:
  • New York - third wettest
  • Georgia - fifth wettest
  • Vermont - seventh wettest
  • Connecticut - seventh wettest
  • Louisiana - seventh wettest
  • New Jersey - ninth wettest
  • Alabama - ninth wettest
  • Texas - ninth wettest

It was the second driest March on record for North Dakota. Other states that experienced much below normal precipitation were Indiana, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Fourteen additional states fell within the dry third portion of the historical distribution.

March Statewide Ranking Map for Precipitation
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Top of Page March Regional Highlights

Based upon preliminary data, March 2001 was the twentieth coolest such month since 1895 for the South region. Only five of the last thirteen Marches were near or below the long-term mean. March Time Series for Coolest Region
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March Time Series for Warmest Region
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It was the twelfth warmest March on record for the West region. This was the tenth consecutive March where temperatures were near or above the long-term mean.

March 2001 was the seventh driest such month since 1895 for the East North Central region. Six of the last nine Marches had below normal precipitation. March Time Series for Driest Region
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March Time Series for Wettest Region
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It was the sixth wettest March for the Southeast in 107 years. Eight of the last thirteen Marches have been above the long-term mean.

View a temperature or precipitation time series for any region from the table below. Click on a region's precipitation or temperature rank to view the 1895-2001 time series.

Region Precipitation Temperature
Northeast 95 34
East North Central 7 47
Central 9 31
Southeast 102 30
West North Central 10 71
South 90 20
Southwest 71 82
Northwest 48 85
West 43 96

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Seven of the last nine Marches have averaged drier than normal over much of the Primary Corn and Soybean agricultural belt. The growing season for the Primary Corn and Soybean Belt runs from March through September. For further agricultural information visit the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin. Corn and Soybean Region Precipitation 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 March Precipitation and Temperature Ranks, Extremes and Normals

Table 1 shows precipitation and temperature ranks for each of the 9 regions and the nation for March 2001, the two months of February-March 2001, the six months of October 2000-March 2001, and the past 12 months, April 2000-March 2001.

           TABLE 1.  PRECIPITATION AND TEMPERATURE RANKS, BASED
                     ON THE PERIOD 1895-2001.  1 = DRIEST/COLDEST,
                     107 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR MAR 2001,
                     107 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR FEB-MAR 2001,
                     106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR OCT 2000-MAR 2001,
                     106 = WETTEST/WARMEST FOR APR 2000-MAR 2001.

                                MAR    FEB-MAR   OCT 2000-  APR 2000-
            REGION              2001     2001    MAR 2001   MAR 2001
            ------              ----  ---------  ---------  ---------

                      PRECIPITATION:

           NORTHEAST             95       78         24         80
           EAST NORTH CENTRAL     7       38         47         62
           CENTRAL                9       41         12         36

           SOUTHEAST            102       69         27         15
           WEST NORTH CENTRAL    10       27         68         32
           SOUTH                 90       96        100         63

           SOUTHWEST             71       74         95         51
           NORTHWEST             48       12          2          2
           WEST                  43       60         27         24

           NATIONAL              67       74         41         28

                      TEMPERATURE:

           NORTHEAST             34       59         41         27
           EAST NORTH CENTRAL    47       38         32         40
           CENTRAL               31       55         21         23

           SOUTHEAST             30       70         22         27
           WEST NORTH CENTRAL    71       40         25         51
           SOUTH                 20       41         10         39

           SOUTHWEST             82       77         50         98
           NORTHWEST             85       53         32         58
           WEST                  96       77         59         88

           NATIONAL              51       59         18         57





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. National ranks and values are based on a combination of USHCN and divisional data.


Top of Page Table 2 shows historical extremes for March, the 1961-1990 normal, and the March 2001 value for each of the 9 regions and the contiguous U.S. for precipitation and temperature. It should be noted that the 2001 values will change when the final data are processed.
              TABLE 2.  EXTREMES, 1961-90 NORMALS, AND 2001 VALUES
                        FOR MAR.  IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE
                        2001 VALUES WILL CHANGE WHEN THE FINAL DATA
                        ARE PROCESSED.

                                     PRECIPITATION (INCHES)
                                   DRIEST     WETTEST   NORMAL  2001
               REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   PCPN   PCPN
               ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

              NORTHEAST           0.71 1915  6.56 1936   3.14   4.76
              EAST NORTH CENTRAL  0.21 1910  3.50 1977   1.89   0.82
              CENTRAL             0.55 1910  6.91 1897   3.92   2.12

              SOUTHEAST           1.54 1910  8.89 1980   4.75   7.11
              WEST NORTH CENTRAL  0.39 1994  2.10 1987   1.02   0.61
              SOUTH               0.89 1966  6.28 1973   2.83   3.46

              SOUTHWEST           0.20 1956  2.90 1905   1.02   1.14
              NORTHWEST           0.58 1965  5.46 1904   2.72   2.41
              WEST                0.09 1914  6.28 1907   2.23   1.70

              NATIONAL            0.91 1910  3.89 1973   2.47   2.52*

                                  * PRELIMINARY VALUE, CONFIDENCE
                                    INTERVAL + OR - 0.29 INCHES

                                     TEMPERATURE (DEGREES F)
                                   COLDEST    WARMEST   NORMAL  2001
               REGION            VALUE YEAR VALUE YEAR   TEMP   TEMP
               ------            ---------- ----------  ------ ------

              NORTHEAST           25.1 1916  42.5 1946   33.4   30.7
              EAST NORTH CENTRAL  18.8 1960  42.2 1910   29.9   28.0
              CENTRAL             29.0 1960  53.0 1946   43.0   39.6

              SOUTHEAST           44.9 1960  63.2 1945   54.7   52.8
              WEST NORTH CENTRAL  19.1 1965  43.4 1910   31.2   32.5
              SOUTH               43.7 1915  62.6 1907   53.6   50.5

              SOUTHWEST           35.6 1917  49.0 1910   41.9   44.2
              NORTHWEST           31.0 1917  46.0 1934   38.6   40.6
              WEST                39.5 1897  55.0 1934   46.3   50.2

              NATIONAL            36.5 1965  50.5 1910   42.4   42.4








 
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Top of Page Water Year River Basin Statistics, October 2000-March 2001

Table 3 shows statistics for selected river basins: Precipitation rankings are for October 2000-March 2001, where 1 = driest, and 106 = wettest, based on the period 1895 to 2001. 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 2001.
                                        PRECIPITATION  % AREA  % AREA
          RIVER BASIN                       RANK        DRY     WET
          -----------                   -------------  ------  ------

          MISSOURI BASIN                     79         11.3%    0.0%
          PACIFIC NORTHWEST BASIN             2         69.6%    0.0%
          CALIFORNIA RIVER BASIN             25          4.2%    0.0%

          GREAT BASIN                        69         18.2%    0.0%
          UPPER COLORADO BASIN               73          0.0%    0.0%
          LOWER COLORADO BASIN               85          0.0%    0.0%
          RIO GRANDE BASIN                   99          0.0%   13.3%

          ARKANSAS-WHITE-RED BASIN          103          0.0%   41.5%
          TEXAS GULF COAST BASIN            104          0.0%   74.4%
          SOURIS-RED-RAINY BASIN             80          0.0%   22.2%
          UPPER MISSISSIPPI BASIN            45          0.0%    0.0%

          LOWER MISSISSIPPI BASIN            72          0.0%    0.0%
          GREAT LAKES BASIN                  14          9.6%    0.0%
          OHIO RIVER BASIN                    6          0.0%    0.0%
          TENNESSEE RIVER BASIN              17          0.0%    0.0%

          NEW ENGLAND BASIN                  38          0.0%    7.7%
          MID-ATLANTIC BASIN                 16          0.0%    2.7%
          SOUTH ATLANTIC-GULF BASIN          35          4.4%    0.0%

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

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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 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.

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 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: questions@ncdc.noaa.gov

For further information on the historical climate perspective presented in this report, contact:

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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