Assessment of the #climate in the United States in March 2022 — NOAA – Coyote Gulch
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The current multi-year drought across the West is the most widespread and intense drought in the 22-year history of the US Drought Monitor. Precipitation deficits in the first three months of 2022, in parts of the western United States, are at or near record highs. As the climatological rainy season ends in parts of the West, with below-average snow cover, concerns about the extension and intensification of drought and water resource deficits are growing. and reservoirs at or near historically low levels, concerns about the extension and intensification of drought and water resource deficits are growing.
In March, the average temperature in the contiguous United States was 44.1°F, 2.6°F above the 20th century average. This ranked in the hottest third of the 128-year recording span. The year-to-date (Jan-March) average temperature in the contiguous United States was 36.3°F, 1.2°F above average, ranking in the middle third of the record high. The March rainfall total for the contiguous United States was 2.26 inches, 0.25 inches below average, and ranked in the driest third of the 128-year record span. The year-to-date rainfall total was 5.66 inches, 1.30 inches below average, ranking seventh driest on the January-March record.
This monthly summary from NOAA’s National Environmental Information Centers is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to governments, businesses, universities and the public to support informed decision-making.
A large outbreak of cold air in the central United States occurred during the second week of March. Despite this cold spell, temperatures for the entire month were above average across much of the West and from the Midwest to the East Coast. Temperatures were below average in pockets along the western Gulf Coast in March. Alaska’s temperature in March was 16.6°F, 5.8°F above the long-term average. This ranked in the third hottest of the 98-year record period for the state. Temperatures were above average across most of the state, with Anchorage and Talkeetna reporting top 10 hot March months.
Precipitation was above average from the central plains to the Great Lakes, as well as parts of the Deep South and Southeast. Precipitation was below average across much of the western, northern, and southern plains and valley from Tennessee to the mid-Atlantic and parts of the northeast. North Dakota ranked seventh driest on record, while Michigan ranked eighth wettest for the month. Several severe weather outbreaks produced strong and destructive tornadoes in March. On March 5, supercell thunderstorms produced at least 13 confirmed tornadoes in Iowa, including a confirmed EF4 tornado in Winterset. On March 21 and 22, severe weather and tornadoes were reported from Texas to Alabama, including an EF3 tornado that significantly damaged two schools in Jacksboro, Texas, and an EF3 tornado that ripped through the New York metro area. -Orleans. Another outbreak of severe weather affected Gulf Coast states on March 30-31, from Louisiana to Florida, with at least 14 tornadoes and 2 confirmed fatalities. Rainfall in Southeast Alaska in March was above average. After the wettest January and February on record, Juneau stayed wet in March, ranking 10th wettest. As a result, the first three months of the year were the wettest on record and also the wettest January to April on record, with the entire month of April still in progress. Snowpack at the end of March was above average across much of mainland Alaska, with some locations approaching record highs. According to the March 29 US Drought Monitor report, nearly 58% of the contiguous United States was in drought, up from 59% in early March. Drought conditions intensified and/or extended in parts of the Southeast, Plains, Southern Rockies, parts of the West Coast and Hawaii. Drought intensity and/or coverage has decreased in parts of the northern Great Lakes. In March, the contiguous drought footprint in the United States reached 61%, the largest extent of drought observed since the fall of 2012.
Since the beginning of the year (January-March)
Temperatures were above average across much of the west and along the east coast. California ranked sixth hottest for the January-March period. Temperatures were below average in parts of the Upper Mississippi Valley and the Deep South. Alaska’s temperature from January to March was 9.6°F, 3.7°F above the long-term average, ranking in the warmest third of the state record. Above-average temperatures were seen across much of the southern half of the state, with the warmest departures from average occurring in parts of south-central Alaska.
Billion dollar weather and climate disasters
During the first quarter of 2022, no new billion dollar weather and climate disasters were identified, although several events are currently being assessed.
In early April 2022, the NCEI added 13 additional historic weather and climate events which, through inflation and review, exceeded the billion dollar threshold. The United States has now suffered 323 weather and climate disasters since 1980, where aggregate damages/costs have reached or exceeded $1 billion (based on Consumer Price Index adjustment to 2022 ). The total cost of these 323 events exceeds $2.195 trillion.
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