NOAA on Spring: Drought, Flooding and Warm Weather

Odds favor above-average spring temperatures across much of the continental United States, including drought-stricken areas of Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains, according to NOAA’s Annual Spring Outlook.

NOAA says spring promises little drought relief for most of these areas, as well as Florida, with below- average spring precipitation favored there.

Right now 51 percent of the continental U.S.—primarily in the central and western regions—is in moderate to exceptional drought.

NOAA says drought conditions are expected to persist, with new drought development, in California, the Southwest, the southern Rockies, Texas, and Florida.

Meanwhile, river flooding is likely to be worse than last year across the country, with the most significant flood potential in North Dakota.

After a year of reprieve, the Red River of the North between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, and the Souris River in North Dakota have the potential for moderate and major flooding, NOAA says.

The melting of late-season snow may also cause minor to moderate flooding in the upper Mississippi River basin, including southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northern Missouri.

Areas along the middle Mississippi, lower Missouri and Ohio River basins have already experienced minor flooding this year and the threat of minor flooding will continue through the spring, NOAA adds.

A 2012 poll by the Insurance Information Institute found that 13 percent of American homeowners had a flood insurance policy, virtually unchanged from the 14 percent of homeowners in 2011, but well below the 17 percent who said they purchased flood insurance in May 2008.

Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Residential flood insurance is available in the form of a separate policy primarily from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

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