Warm and wet described conditions across most of the contiguous U.S. during the winter season, December 2012-February 2013.
A wet winter diminishes drought’s reach
According to NOAA scientists, this was the 20th warmest winter on record, with the average temperature 1.9°F above the 20th century average.
Total winter precipitation across the contiguous United States averaged 0.63 inches above the 20th century average. During February, several winter storms alleviated drought conditions across the Southeast and Midwest. Lower precipitation levels across the Central Plains and the Mountain West did little to mitigate the drought.
Winter season climate highlights
Precipitation totals, December-February
Temperature in the contiguous U.S.: Winter was warmer than average for all states east of the Rockies. In three states – Florida, Delaware and Vermont – this winter was among the ten warmest on record.
However, the Southwest was cooler than average while the Northwest reported near-average winter temperatures.
Precipitation in the contiguous U.S.: Winter brought above-average precipitation for most states east of the Rockies. In many states in the Great Lakes region and Gulf Coast – Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia – this winter was among the ten wettest on record. However, states on the West Coast and in the Northern Plains and Rockies received below-average precipitation, even though the Rutgers Global Snow Lab reported the 15th largest overall seasonal snow cover since the start of record-keeping in 1966.
Temperature and precipitation in Alaska: Winter was both warmer and wetter than average. The statewide average temperature registered 2.0°F above average, making this three-month period the 27th warmest in the 95-year record. Winter was the 17th wettest on record, with precipitation at more than 30 percent above average.
Looking forward: NOAA’s three-month spring outlook
Current conditions of snowpack, drought, soil moisture, stream flow, precipitation, Pacific Ocean temperatures and climate forecast modeling contribute to formulating NOAA’s spring climate predictions.
Above-average temperatures are likely to continue throughout the contiguous U.S.. There is no drought relief in sight for Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains, and Florida joins this list of regions expecting below-average precipitation during the spring season.
Across the country other states should prepare for river floods worse than last year. North Dakota was singled out as being at most risk of floods.