Much of the United States will continue to see drought conditions over the next few months, although some areas will have some relief, according to the National Weather Service’s seasonal drought outlook.
Over the past month, there had been some above-normal precipitation in the southern Plains (eastern New Mexico and Texas), parts of the central Plains (western Oklahoma and central Kansas), and the lower Mississippi, Tennessee, and Ohio Valleys, providing some relief from the drought, the service’s the Climate Prediction Center notes.
Elsewhere, though, including parts of the western Corn Belt, mostly dry weather exacerbated drought conditions, and that will likely persist or intensify over the next few months, ending April 30, it says.
“During the upcoming three months, a much drier pattern is expected across the southern third of the Nation (from central California to the eastern Gulf Coast),” it states. “This limits the prospects for further drought improvements during the latter end of the wet season in California, Nevada, and western Arizona, and in fact increases the probabilities for drought development and deterioration in the tri-State area.”
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“In contrast, enhanced probabilities of surplus precipitation and subnormal temperatures across the northern U.S. (from the northern Rockies eastward to the upper Midwest and into the western Corn Belt) increase the odds for drought improvement,” it notes.
Drought hit the U.S. hard last year. Rating agency A.M. Best noted in a recent report that gross underwriting losses as of the third quarter of 2012 will be about $15.5 billion, on estimated premiums of $11 billion.