The National Weather Service says its models show this year’s snowpack in the north-central U.S. contains more water than in the past 60 years.

In a release issued today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration says other aspects of the U.S. spring outlook — both flooding and drought — for April through June include:

· Temperature: Odds favor above-average temperatures in much of the southern half of the U.S., and below-average temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to the northern plains.

· Precipitation: Odds favor drier-than-average conditions from South Florida and along the Gulf Coast through Texas and into the Southwest. Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across parts of the northern plains.

· Drought: From the Southwest, across the South and northward to the mid-Atlantic, drought has been spreading and deepening since the winter and is forecast to persist in spring. Wildfires will be an increasing threat, especially when humidity is low and when winds are high.

Heavy rainfall at any time can lead to river flooding, even in areas where overall river flood potential is considered below average. Find current hydrologic information specific to your area at:

NOAA says floods are the deadliest weather phenomena — claiming an average of 100 lives each year throughout the U.S. “Many of these deaths occur in automobiles and are preventable. If confronted with a water-covered road on foot or in an automobile, follow National Weather Service advice: Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”

The National Weather Service says it’s committed to improving the timeliness and accuracy of river and flood forecasts and warnings necessary to move people out of harm’s way and save valuable resources. To address the growing water challenges and guide critical decisions, NOAA is leading an interagency consortium called Integrated Water Resources Science and Services (IWRSS), which consists initially of NOAA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Geological Survey. The consortium will unify and leverage each agency’s water science, observation and prediction capabilities to improve water resources forecasts, foster better communications and provide the common operating picture required to mitigate the death and destruction caused by floods. IWRSS provides the new business model needed to facilitate working together better in the Information Age.

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