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NOAA image of fall in Maryland 1999.

September 17, 2001 — Most of the United States can expect below-normal temperatures and near-normal precipitation for fall 2001. Seasonal rains, mountain snowfall and cooler temperatures will bring short-term relief in the drought-plagued Northwest, according to NOAA's latest seasonal outlook. (Click NOAA image for larger view of fall in Maryland.)


Forecast highlights for fall 2001, which starts September 22, include:

  • Below-normal temperatures to develop over the northern Plains states moving east as winter approaches;
  • Warmer-than-normal temperatures for parts of the Southwest, expanding up the West Coast and along the southern tier states as the fall season ends.

NOAA's climate experts said while precipitation and cooler temperatures will improve soil-moisture conditions in the Northwest, the region's low water supply will likely continue through spring 2002.

Heavy rains in late August and early September ended the drought throughout most of east Texas and Oklahoma, but were not able to eliminate drought conditions in south and west Texas, and central Oklahoma, said Doug LeComte, a climate forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. He added, "More precipitation during the next several months may bring relief to the rest of Oklahoma and north-central Texas."

In Florida, the heavy rains from Tropical Storm Gabrielle have improved lake and groundwater levels that were impacted by long-term drought. Some wells and lakes, especially in the northern peninsula, may remain below normal through fall, but forecasts do not indicate abnormal dryness returning during the next few months, Lecomte said.

He also pointed to another drought concern—the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and eastern Great Lakes region. "Some areas will see improvement, but overall the dryness will linger from October to December."

NOAA will issue the outlook for winter 2001-02 on Oct. 18, 2001.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Seasonal Outlook

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center Drought Assessment

NOAA's Drought Information Center

Media Contact:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163