NOAA Releases 2016 U.S. Spring Outlook

Below is the outlook for Spring 2016 in the United States from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). For more about flood safety, visit http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov/.

Overview
According to NOAA’s U.S. Spring Outlook released on March 17, areas of the country still under water from torrential rainfall last week have an elevated risk of moderate flooding through the rest of the season. Parts of LA, AR and eastern TX have an elevated risk of moderate flooding, along with communities along the Mississippi and Missouri River basins and the southeastern U.S. from AL to NC. Surrounding areas are at risk of minor flooding this spring. Meanwhile, snowmelt and rain continue to improve drought conditions over northern CA, while the rest of the state saw only a small benefit from recent precipitation fueled by a near-record El Niño, and remains in a persistent drought condition. New drought is likely to develop this spring across most of AZ and western NM.

While there are no widespread areas at risk of exceeding major flooding, springtime heavy rains in areas with saturated soils may cause localized major flooding. Without significant snowpack throughout most of the country, the flood risk is highly dependent on the amount of future rainfall in areas with above normal soil moisture and streamflow. See more about the areas at risk of exceeding moderate flood levels this Spring.

Temperature and Precipitation Outlook
NOAA climate forecasters announced last week that El Niño conditions remain in place, but a weakening trend is forecast over the course of the spring months. El Niño continues to be a strong climate signal that will shape the nation’s weather this spring.

For April through June, the U.S. Spring Outlook favors above-average precipitation throughout western AK, and the southern half of the country including most of CA, the Southwest, Gulf Coast and Southeast. Below-average precipitation is favored around the Great Lakes, parts of the Pacific Northwest, southern Alaska Panhandle and HI. Most of the country, except the Central and Southern Plains, is favored to see above-average temperatures from April through June.

Preparedness Messaging
Floods kill an average of 89 people each year in the US. The majority of these cases could have been easily prevented by staying informed of flood threats, and following the direction of local emergency management officials.

To help people and communities prepare, NOAA offers the following flood safety tips:

  • Determine whether your community is in a flood-risk area and continue monitoring local flood conditions at http://water.weather.gov,
  • Learn what actions to take to stay safe before, during and after a flood at floodsafety.noaa.gov,
  • Visit http://www.floodsmart.gov to learn about FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and for flood preparedness advice to safeguard your family, home and possessions,
  • Purchase a NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards receiver with battery power option to stay apprised of quickly changing weather information,
  • Study evacuation routes in advance and heed evacuation orders, and
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown – never cross flooded roads, no matter how well you know the area or how shallow you believe the water to be.

NOAA encourages individuals to become weather-ready during NOAA’s Spring Weather Safety Campaign which offers information on hazardous spring weather — tornadoes, floods, thunderstorm winds, hail, lightning, heat, wildfires, rip currents and tsunamis — and tips on how to stay safe.

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