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U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook for March 1 to May 2012 (Text)

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March 1 (Bloomberg) -- Following is the text of the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook as released by the National Weather Service in Camp Springs, Maryland:

Latest Seasonal Assessment - The drought outlook for March 1 - May 31, 2012 is based on short-, medium-, and long-range forecasts, climate anomalies associated with a weakening La Nina, initial conditions, and climatology. Since the release of the previous drought outlook on February 16, 2012, significant precipitation has fallen across the Pacific Northwest, portions of the Rockies, eastern Texas, the western and central Gulf Coast region, the Tennessee Valley, the mid-Atlantic region, and the Dakotas/Upper Midwest region. The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) predicts a tilt in the odds for above-normal temperatures for areas east of the Continental Divide in March, and enhanced odds for below-normal temperatures across the West Coast states and all of Alaska. This general pattern is also anticipated for the March-May 2012 season, though with less coverage of below-normal temperatures over the West and Alaska, and somewhat reduced coverage of above-normal temperatures across the CONUS. For precipitation, there is a tilt in the odds for wetter-than-normal conditions across the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, the Alaska Panhandle, and southwest Alaska in March, and for a fairly large area encompassing the Great Lakes, the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and eastern portions of the upper and middle Mississippi Valley. The March-May precipitation outlook calls for a tilt in the odds for wetter-than-normal conditions across western Washington, the Great Lakes, and the Ohio Valley. Prospects for drier-than-normal conditions for both March 2012 and March-May 2012 are elevated over the Southwest, the southern and central High Plains, the immediate Gulf Coast, and Florida. In Hawaii, with the wet season and the current La Nina beginning to wind down, some improvement in drought conditions is deemed the best bet, with limited relief anticipated.

SOURCE: National Weather Service

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Sebany in Washington at msebany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alex Tanzi at atanzi@bloomberg.net

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