U.S. hit with two billion-dollar disasters so far in 2019

Nation also has its coldest first quarter in five years

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flood, NOAA, bomb cyclone,

WASHINGTON — The so-called bomb cyclone that brought heavy snow, blizzard conditions and major flooding to the Midwest in March landed with a resounding meteorological “ka-boom!” and became one of two billion-dollar weather and climate disasters this year.

The other was a severe storm that struck the Northeast, Southeast and Ohio Valley in late February. And it’s only April.

March numbers

The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. during March was 40.68 degrees F (0.82 of a degree below average), ranking in the middle third of the 125-year record for the month, according to scientists at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.

The total precipitation for March for the contiguous U.S. was 2.20 inches (0.31 of an inch below average), which fell within the driest third of the 125-year period of record.

Above-average precipitation was observed across parts of the West, central Rockies and into the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley.

This precipitation exacerbated the flooding that occurred during the latter half of March in the central U.S.

Flooding along these major rivers and tributaries is anticipated to continue well into April.

Below-average precipitation was observed across the Northwest, South, Southeast and East Coast. Washington and Montana had one of their 10 driest Marchs on record.

Year-to-date totals. The average U.S. temperature for the year to date (January through March) was 35.03 degrees F (0.12 of a degree F below average), which landed among the middle third of the record.

This was the coldest start to a year since 2014.

The total precipitation was 8.03 inches (1.07 inches above average), tying with 1949 as 12th wettest year to date on record.

NOAA, weather, map,
An annotated map of the United States showing notable climate events that occurred across the country during March 2019. (Source: NOAA)

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