USA WINTER—IT’S NOT OVER UNTIL IT’S OVER
March 1, 2005 ó Just as February storms out and March comes blowing in, the U.S. was hit with another dose of winter reality. Meteorologists at the NOAA National Weather Service see the national picture as a tale of two coasts. This week the parched Pacific Northwest and arid Florida will get some precipitation while parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast were battered by a late season nor'easter. (Click NOAA image for larger view of USA weather map for March 1, 2005. Please credit “NOAA.”)
"Rain and snow this week across western portions of Washington and Oregon is good news for this region, as it should put a temporary brake on deteriorating drought conditions," said Douglas LeComte, drought specialist at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. "The bad news is that the precipitation amounts are forecast to be fairly light east of the Cascade Mountains, resulting in little change in the drought situation for the rest of the Pacific Northwest and into Montana."
NOAA climate forecasters predict a likely return to drier weather conditions by next week along the coast and the Cascades. In the Southeast, Florida also has seen a change in its dry pattern, with many locations picking up more than an inch of rain in recent days, and more precipitation is on tap for later this week.
Meanwhile, a major storm hit sections of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Monday. "The storm originated in the Gulf of Mexico this past weekend and produced substantial amounts of rain in Florida," said Robert Kelly, meteorologist at the NOAA Hydrometeorological Prediction Center. As this system moved north, precipitation began to fall mainly as snow. Although seven inches of snow was reported this morning as far south as Linville, N.C., the heaviest snowfall amounts occurred in an area from the northern mid-Atlantic region through the Northeast as the system moved up the East Coast.
"There is nothing particularly unusual about either scenario, said Mike Halpert, seasonal forecaster at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. "Winter just hasn't loosened its grip yet." As NOAA meteorologists look to the month ahead, temperatures during March are anticipated to average below normal throughout the Southeast and mid-Atlantic and above normal across most of the West and eastern Alaska. The precipitation outlook favors a continuation of drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest and wetter-than-average across the Southwest.
This year's winter could set up a mixed bag of blessings as we head into spring. NOAA will issue its 2005 U.S. Spring Outlook on Thursday, March 17.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nationís coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Relevant Web Sites