NOAA’s Climate Center has issued its 2015 Spring Outlook covering flood potential, precipitation, temperature and drought through the April-June period. The flood outlook is for mid-March to Mid-May.
According to the outlook, the greatest potential for Spring flooding is in the Northeast along with a portion of the lower Missouri River and other nearby rivers and streams in parts of southern Illinois, southwest Indiana and far northern Kentucky. The near term potential is being driven by snow melt. That melt will also influence the somewhat longer term in that soil moisture will be above average to far above average in those areas.
As for temperatures, much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation will experience near-normal temperatures with the West Coast being much above normal. Only portions of Texas and New Mexico are forecast to be below normal.
The outlook calls for above-normal precipitation in the Southeast and the Four-corners area with below normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The rest of the country will be near normal.
Drought conditions will continue or worsen in much of the western third of the country and drought may also spread from Minnesota into Wisconsin. The drought will improve in eastern New Mexico and Oklahoma. 40% of California is already in an exceptional drought and the predicted hot temperatures and lack of precipitation will exacerbate that situation.
Linus tells Sally about dog days of summer in today’s Peanuts comic strip. Those of us in the northern hemisphere are smack in the middle of the dog days since July and August are typically our hottest summer temperatures.
EDEN delegates identified several resources for staying safe in extreme heat. They range from advice for the elderly to advice about working outdoors. Delegates also identified resources that provide advice about livestock, pets and crops.
As wildfires erupted, a heat wave settled in, and drought conditions expanded across the United States, Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN) delegates collaborated to keep the EDEN Fire (Wildfire), Heat Wave—Extreme Heat, and Drought Topic Pages up-to-date with current conditions and collected resources. For example, Texas and Colorado resources, along with eXtension resources (in particular, the Wildfire and Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape Communities of Practice), are highlighted on the Fire (Wildfire) page.
In addition to basic information about the types of drought and drought impacts, the Drought Topic Page includes links to USDA Disaster and Drought Assistance, hay hotlines, relevant blogs and Facebook pages, special tools, and twenty-two university drought sites. EDEN activated its Response Notes system, providing a venue for states to update their status and helping USDA/NIFA stay on top of Extension activities.
EDEN hosted conference calls focusing on wildfire and drought in June and July, and a conference call in June introducing Next48. This weather dashboard aggregates weather maps and other disaster status maps customized by state. It is designed as a one-stop source for an immediate overview of current weather, forecasts, radar, flood status, drought monitor, flu information, and more.
The Fire (Wildfire) and Drought pages also connect to eXtension. Building on the ongoing conversations and responding through eXtension to identified needs, EDEN collaborated with other eXtension CoPs to highlight wildfire resources and to build a public Drought Resources page. The page features resources (with links to Beef Cattle and Water Conservation for Lawn and Landscape CoP content and to external resources) for agricultural producers and homeowners alike. This page and the EDEN Drought Topic Page are works in progress as the drought continues.