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Spring outlook calls for Midwest flooding, southwest drought

Climate News: USA
March 16, 2007

The U.S. Government's Spring Weather Outlook
raises concerns for flooding in the Midwest and continued drought in the Southwest. The outlook for April through June includes potential flooding in the Ohio Valley and as far west as Colorado. "The soil moisture is high, due to the melting of an above normal snowpack, which resulted from record snowfall in December and January." Warmer than normal temperatures in recent weeks have increased the risk of flooding due to ice jams over portions of eastern South Dakota, eastern Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. In addition, high soil moisture over northeastern Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania and extreme southwestern New York state could lead to flooding if additional heavy precipitation occurs. Snow and rainfall in December through February were above average in much of the center of the nation, while large sections of the East, Southeast and West were drier than average. "The outlook for any significant drought improvement from now through spring looks grim for not only southern California but for much of the Southwest as well." Florida also is approaching its dry season and dry winter weather over the southern half of the peninsula has brought fire danger indices to abnormally high conditions. "The Fire Potential Outlook for February through June 2007 calls for the potential for significant wildfire activity to be higher than normal this spring over portions of the southern tier of states and northern Minnesota." The outlook calls for drought to continue or worsen through June over much of the Southwest, potentially spreading into portions of Utah and western Colorado. Drought also is expected to persist across Florida, while improvement is predicted over the extreme northern Plains as well as portions of Texas and Oklahoma.
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