National Weather and Hazard Maps
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity plans need to consider natural weather and events. The effects that natural events have on the environment directly and indirectly may be harmful to people. Forest fires and volcanoes harm air quality. Hurricanes and floods can contaminate water supplies and damage wastewater facilities. Any of these can spread contaminated materials into the environment.
People’s response to natural events can also harm either themselves or the environment. Improper use of portable generators or supplemental heating devices can release deadly carbon monoxide. De-icing agents and ice melting compounds can pollute waterways. Exceptionally large amounts of debris can present serious disposal problems for state and local communities.
Current Static and weather radar loops
National Forecast - NOAA forecasts ‘another season of extremes’ for the US
According to NOAA, the Southern Plains should prepare for continued drier and warmer than average weather, while the Pacific Northwest is likely to be colder and wetter than average from December through February.
For the second winter in a row, La Niña will influence weather patterns across the country, but as usual, it’s not the only climate factor at play. The ‘wild card’ is the lesser-known and less predictable Arctic Oscillation that could produce dramatic short-term swings in temperatures this winter.
NOAA expects La Niña, which returned in August, to gradually strengthen and continue through the upcoming winter. It is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and influences weather throughout the world.
“The evolving La Niña will shape this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “There is a wild card, though. The erratic Arctic Oscillation can generate strong shifts in the climate patterns that could overwhelm or amplify La Niña’s typical impacts.”
The Arctic Oscillation is always present and fluctuates between positive and negative phases. The negative phase of the Arctic Oscillation pushes cold air into the US from Canada. The Arctic Oscillation went strongly negative at times in the last two winters, causing outbreaks of cold and snowy conditions in the US such as the ‘Snowmaggedon’ storm of 2009. Strong Arctic Oscillation episodes typically last a few weeks and are difficult to predict more than one to two weeks in advance.
With La Niña in place Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and parts of surrounding states are unlikely to get enough rain to alleviate the ongoing drought. Texas, the epicenter of the drought, experienced its driest 12-month period on record from October 2010 through September 2011.
To improve the ability to predict and track winter storms, NOAA implemented a more accurate weather forecast model on October 18th.
Regional highlights of the US Winter Outlook (December through February) include:
- Pacific Northwest: colder and wetter than average. La Niña often results in below-average temperatures and increased mountain snow in the Pacific Northwest and western Montana during the winter months. This may set the stage for spring flooding in the Missouri River Basin;
- California: colder than average with odds favoring wetter than average conditions in northern California and drier than average conditions in southern California. All of the southern part of the nation are at risk of having above normal wildfire conditions starting this winter and lasting into the spring;
- Northern Plains: colder and wetter than average. Spring flooding could be a concern in parts of this region;
- Southern Plains and Gulf Coast States: warmer and drier than average. This will likely exacerbate drought conditions in these regions;
- Florida and south Atlantic Coast: drier than average, with an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures. Above normal wildfire conditions;
- Ohio and Tennessee Valleys: wetter than average with equal chances for above-, near-, or below-average temperatures. Potential for increased storminess and flooding;
- Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: equal chances for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and precipitation. Winter weather for these regions is often driven not by La Niña but by the Arctic Oscillation. If enough cold air and moisture are in place, areas north of the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast could see above-average snow;
- Great Lakes: tilt toward colder and wetter than average;
- Hawaii: Above-average temperatures are favored in the western islands with equal chances of above-, near-, or below average average precipitation. Statewide, the current drought is expected to continue through the winter. Drought recovery is more likely over the windward slopes of the Big Island and Maui;
- Alaska: colder than average over the southern half of the state and the panhandle with below average precipitation in the interior eastern part of the state.
USGS Natural Hazards Support System
Assessments are reviews of current weather and climate information issued on a routine basis
From Monday-Friday, the CPC issues an assessment of weather- and climate-related hazards to the United States for the next three to fourteen days.
On Monday, the CPC updates a PowerPoint and PDF presentation on the recent evolution, current status and predictions of conditions in the tropical Pacific related to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.
Global Ocean Assessment
Around the 7th day of each month, the CPC makes monthly assessment of how the state of the global ocean involved recently, what is the interaction with atmosphere, and how model predictions verify using a PPT presentation and conference call. Contact: Yan.Xue@noaa.gov.
MJO Weekly Assessment
On Monday, the CPC provides an assessment of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) which includes a description of the recent evolution, current status and forecasts of the MJO.
Global Tropics Benefits/Hazards Assessment
On Monday, the CPC produces a benefits/hazards assessment for the global tropics for the upcoming 1-2 week time period. The product includes collaboration from other NOAA centers and synthesizes information from a number of CPC assessment activities and other operational monitoring products.
On each Thursday, the CPC, together with the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, and NOAA's National Climatic Data Center issues a weekly drought assessment called the United States Drought Monitor. The Monitor provides a consolidated depiction of national drought conditions based on a combination of drought indicators and field reports. The CPC issues the Seasonal United States Drought Outlook each month in conjunction with the Thursday release of the long-lead temperature and precipitation outlooks near the middle of the month. Updates to the Seasonal United States Drought Outlook are issued the first Thursday of each month.
Degree Days Assessment
On Monday, the CPC issues the weekly Degree Day Assessment, which reviews temperature and degree day statistics for the heating or cooling season to date, as well as the past week, and provides an outlook for the coming week.
Technical review of global climate variations and their global impacts on seasonal and annual time scales.
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