NOAA Calls for More Dry Weather

While some relief is anticipated in parched sections of the United States, droughts are expected to persist or intensify in many areas of the country from January through March 2008, according to the latest U.S. Drought Outlook issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center.

Drought conditions are predicted to continue in the Southeast from Alabama to the Carolinas. Also, there is the potential for drought to develop along the eastern Gulf of Mexico and in Florida and over the western Plains from northern Texas into southwestern Nebraska.

"In spite of a number of winter storms that affected the nation during the first two weeks of December, much more rainfall is needed to bring wells, lakes and reservoir levels back to normal in many areas of the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and parts of Florida," said Douglas LeComte, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center drought specialist. "Over the last year or two, the precipitation deficits in these areas have been measured in feet rather than inches."

Meteorologists continue to forecast below average precipitation for the southern tier of the nation and above average precipitation over the Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes and Tennessee Valley for January through March. Drought conditions should improve in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, as well as over the Pacific Northwest. Intermittent beneficial rain and snow is expected over the next couple of weeks for California and Arizona, but improvement might be short lived since below average precipitation is expected for the rest of the season.