(NEW YORK) — Meteorologists are predicting flood threats for a large portion of the U.S. this spring.
About 44% of the U.S. is at risk for flooding, Ed Clark, director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Water Center, told reporters on Thursday.
There is a risk of flooding in most of the eastern half of the U.S. including most of the Mississippi River Basin, NOAA said. In the West, the historic snowpack along the Sierra Nevada mountain range, combined with elevated soil moisture, is heightening the potential for spring floods across much of California’s coast.
The snow melt will bring much-needed water to California and the Great Basin. The reservoirs that depend on the Colorado River, such as Lake Powell and Lake Mead, are currently at record low water levels following years of drought.
Climate change is driving both wet and dry extremes, NOAA administrator Rick Spinrad said.
Moderate to exceptional drought coverage across the U.S. is at its lowest since August 2020 and is likely to continue improving, or end entirely, across much of California and the Great Basin due to the heavy influx of moisture in recent months.
Extreme to exceptional drought across parts of the southern High Plains will likely to persist through the spring season, with droughts also expected to develop into parts of New Mexico. Across parts of the Northwest U.S. and northern Rockies, drought conditions are also expected to continue. Droughts may develop in Washington state.
The spring wet season is expected to improve drought conditions across parts of the northern and central Plains, while current drought conditions in Florida are expected to improve or be alleviated during the next three months.
Above-average temperatures are likely for much of the southern and eastern half of the U.S. this spring, forecasts show.
For April through June, the greatest chance for above-average temperatures exists from the southern High Plains and northward along the East Coast.
Above-average temperatures are also likely for Hawaii and northern parts of Alaska.
Below-average temperatures are predicted for the central Great Basin and the northern Plains.
NOAA forecasters predict above-average precipitation this spring across the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and into parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Below-average precipitation is most likely for the Southwest and parts of the Pacific Northwest.
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