Drought footprint keeps shrinking
FRISCO — The average temperature across the U.S. was slightly below average in November, mainly driven by cool readings in the eastern half of the country, according to the monthly climate update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.
A large swath of states extending from Texas up to the Northeast reported below average temperatures for the month. Warmer than average temperatures were reported across the desert Southwest and in Florida.
The average temperature of 41.6 degrees was just 0.3 degrees below the 20th century average, ranking near the median value in the 119-year period of record.
For the autumn season (September to November), the contiguous 48 states were slightly warmer than average, at 54.1 degrees Fahrenheit. Precipitation for the autumn season was also above average, although November was slightly drier than average.
Read the full monthly report at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/national/2013/11.
Autumn climate highlights, as reported by the National Climatic Data Center:
- A large portion of the contiguous U.S. had near-average autumn temperatures. Below-average temperatures were present for parts of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. Above-average temperatures were observed in parts of the Rockies and in Florida.
- Alaska experienced its 10th warmest autumn in its 95-year period of record with a statewide average temperature 4.0°F above the 1971-2000 average. The warm autumn was driven in large part by the record warm October in the state. This was the warmest such season in Alaska since 2002.
- Wetter-than-average conditions were observed across parts of the Rockies and Northern Plains where North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico each had autumn precipitation totals ranking among their 10 wettest. Above-average precipitation was also observed for the western Gulf Coast states and parts of the Midwest and Intermountain Basin.
- California had its 10th driest autumn with a seasonal precipitation total of 1.93 inches, 2.34 inches below the 20th century average. Below-average autumn precipitation was also observed in the Southeast and parts of the Mid-Mississippi River Valley and Northeast.
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) during autumn was much below average and the 16th lowest value on record for the season. Elements that were above average include the spatial extent of wetness and days with precipitation. The USCEI is an index that tracks the highest and lowest 10 percent of extremes in temperature, precipitation, tropical cyclones, and drought across the contiguous United States.
U.S. climate highlights – November
- Below-average temperatures were present for a majority of the contiguous U.S. east of the Rockies. Above-average temperatures were present for the Southwest, as well as Florida. No state had November temperatures ranking among the ten warmest or coolest.
- Below-average November precipitation totals were observed along the West Coast, and the Northern Rockies and Plains. Wyoming had its 11th driest November on record with a monthly precipitation total 46 percent of average.
- Above-average precipitation occurred in the Southwest, and parts of the Southeast and Great Lakes. Michigan had its seventh wettest November on record with a precipitation total of 4.12 inches, 1.68 inches above the 20th century average.
- According to analysis by the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the November snow cover extent across the contiguous U.S. was the 12th largest in the 48-year period of record at 591,000 square miles, 116,000 square miles above the 1981-2010 average. Conversely, the Alaska snow cover extent was 11,000 square miles below average, and the 12th smallest November snow cover extent on record.
- According to the December 3rd U.S. Drought Monitor report, 30.6 percent of the contiguous U.S. was in drought, down from 34.7 percent at the end of October. Drought improved for the Lower Mississippi River Valley and parts of the Midwest. Drought conditions expanded in the Northeast, and abnormally dry conditions expanded in the Southeast. Extreme drought conditions expanded to cover 27.6 percent of California.