Perils of record heat and drought loom over US

By Martin Schulz, Steve Flowers and Alan Connor BBC Weather Parts of the north-east US are set to finally enjoy some much-needed sunshine in March. Temperatures are set to reach 36C (96F) in Washington…

By Martin Schulz, Steve Flowers and Alan Connor

BBC Weather

Parts of the north-east US are set to finally enjoy some much-needed sunshine in March. Temperatures are set to reach 36C (96F) in Washington DC and Connecticut this week. The rest of the country is in the grip of some of the worst drought in decades. In western states, extreme heat continues for the 20th day in a row, with records continuing to tumble. And in southern Florida, heavy rains this week are continuing to shut down roads and, in some cases, even cause flooding. Rain will be on the way, with a forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that states that “above-normal rain will most likely reach the northern regions in April”. But just two of the top 10 wettest years on record are in this corner of the Atlantic coast – 2003 and 2007 – and the next most expensive year has been 2012. The coastal drought is likely to continue for several months at least, according to the LA Times, with water-use restrictions and other measures affecting farms and farms. The possible arrival of El Niño this summer would not help matters, it continues. In Utah, authorities have issued a heat alert and are warning residents to take care. Los Angeles’s humidity is set to return, following a lack of weather systems since a “stationary” La Nina event – the same weather condition that means cooler weather – ended early this year. Farmers in Northern California say the dry conditions have already had an impact on crops. Temperatures will also be unusually warm for the time of year in Washington DC, compared with usual averages. Its meteorologists say: “The heightened risk of heat stress is likely. Overnight temperatures will likely drop below normal on several nights.” For the middle of the country, sun will be the only thing you will be able to count on. And there will be cooling up in places, with highs of 16C (60F) across central and Eastern states – but then as rain slowly returns from Alaska. More showers and thunderstorms are likely to dominate central and southern parts of the country. Warnings of flash flooding remain in place in parts of Florida as downpours continue.

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