Issued 12 January 2023: Unless otherwise noted, temperature and precipitation rankings refer to a 128-year period of record (1895-2022), and long-term average refers to the 20th-century (1901-2000) value. Data for 2022 should be considered preliminary. The most up-to-date temperature and precipitation data is available through Climate at a Glance.
Temperature and Precipitation Analysis
Based on preliminary analysis, the average annual temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 53.4°F, 1.4°F above the 20th-century average, ranking in the warmest third in the 128-year record.
Most of the contiguous U.S. experienced above-average temperatures during 2022. Florida and Rhode Island ranked fifth warmest while Massachusetts ranked sixth warmest in the 128-year record. Four additional states experienced a top-10 warmest January-December on record.
- A heatwave across the southern Plains began in April and lasted well into the summer, giving Texas their warmest (and fourth driest) April to July on record.
- A heatwave settled over the West the first week of September and brought scorching temperatures that set all-time record highs. By September 9, nearly 1,000 heat records were broken.
- On October 16, a historic October heatwave brought summer-like heat, shattering daily high temperature records, across the Pacific Northwest. Seattle, WA, broke its previous record high temperature on this day by a staggering 16°F. Portland, OR, set records on seven days in October, reaching at least 80°F on 12 days, doubling the previous October record.
The contiguous U.S. average maximum (daytime) temperature (daytime highs) for 2022 was 65.7°F, 1.7°F above the 20th century average, ranking 14th warmest in the historical record. Temperatures were above average across most of the Lower 48 with the exception of portions of the Upper Midwest. Massachusetts ranked second warmest while California and Maine each ranked fourth warmest for daytime temperatures during January-December. Seven additional states experienced a top-10 warmest event for this 12-month period.
The contiguous U.S. average minimum (nighttime) temperature (overnight lows) during 2022 was 41.1°F, 1.1°F above the 20th century average, ranking in the warmest third of the record. Nighttime temperatures were above average across much of the West, southern Plains and eastern U.S. Florida ranked eighth warmest, Massachusetts ranked ninth warmest while Maine ranked 10th warmest on record for nighttime temperatures. Nighttime temperatures were near to or below average across portions of the central U.S.
Based on NOAA's Residential Energy Demand Temperature Index (REDTI), the contiguous U.S. temperature-related energy demand for 2022 was 97 percent of average and the 54th-lowest value in the 128-year period of record.
For the year, warm daily records outpaced cold records by a margin of more than one and one-half to one. There were nearly 124,000 daily temperature records tied or broken during 2022.
The contiguous U.S. average annual precipitation was 28.35 inches, 1.59 inches below average, ranking in the driest third of the historical record.
Despite near-normal precipitation at the national scale, 2022 witnessed several significant events at the regional scale, including an above-average monsoon season across the Southwest and several atmospheric river events along the Pacific Coast. Drought remained extensive across much of the western U.S. throughout 2022.
For the year as a whole, precipitation was above average across the lower Mississippi Valley to New England, portions of the northern Plains, Great Lakes, and parts of the Pacific Northwest, Southwest and Rockies. Precipitation was below average across much of the West, central and southern Plains, and parts of the Great Lakes and Southeast during the January-December period. Nebraska ranked fourth-driest on record while California ranked ninth driest for this 12-month period.
- On July 26, several locations in and around St. Louis received more rainfall than on any other day on record. A stalled frontal system combined with tropical moisture resulted in precipitation totals that rivaled daily records set by the remnants of the Galveston Hurricane of 1915. Lambert International Airport reported 8.64 inches and St. Peters, MO, measured 12.34 inches of rain from this event. The extreme rainfall caused flash flooding, resulting in at least one fatality, as well as extensive damage to homes and businesses.
- Flash flooding from the same stalled frontal system impacted portions of eastern Kentucky in the early morning of July 28. Heavy rain, enhanced by the terrain, accumulated rapidly, trapping many residents in their homes. Four to eight-inch totals were widespread across eastern Kentucky and the Kentucky River crested at all-time high levels in both Whitesburg and Jackson. At least 37 fatalities occurred with this event.
- The National Weather Service deemed heavy rainfall episodes in southern Illinois, Death Valley National Park, and Dallas, TX as 1,000-year events. While extensive flooding occurred with the heavy rain, some of these events helped to reduce the severity of the drought across portions of the West and southern Plains.
- A historic snowstorm slammed western and northern New York on November 16-20 with more than six feet of snow reported in some areas, closing roads, triggering driving bans and canceling flights. The city of Buffalo set a record for daily snowfall, with 21.5 inches on Saturday, November 19. The previous record was 7.6 inches.
- On December 21-25, a powerful arctic front wreaked havoc across much of the nation, bringing heavy rains, snow, ice and high winds as well as sending temperatures plummeting at record speed. The National Weather Service reported that some 240 million people - more than two-thirds of the U.S. population - were under winter weather warnings and advisories on December 23rd.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM), drought coverage across the contiguous U.S. remained significant for the second year in a row with a minimum extent of 44% occurring on September 6 and a maximum coverage of 63% on October 25 — the largest contiguous U.S. footprint since the drought of 2012.
- The multi-year western U.S. drought resulted in water stress/shortages across many locations in 2022 as some major reservoirs dropped to their lowest levels on record.
- Extreme short-term dryness across the Ohio and Tennessee valleys during late summer/early fall, combined with persistent dryness across the Missouri and Arkansas-White-Red River basins, resulted in reduced streamflow in the Mississippi River to the lowest water levels in a decade, closing off a vital channel to barge traffic at a crucial time of the year for transport of crops from the nation’s heartland.
- 40% or more of the contiguous U.S. has been in drought for the last 119 weeks. This is a record in the 22-year U.S. Drought Monitor history. The previous record was 68 consecutive weeks (June 2012 - October 2013).
Alaska Annual Summary
The Alaskan January-December temperature was 28.6°F, 2.6°F above the long-term average, ranking 16th warmest in the 98-year record for the state. Above-average temperatures were observed across the vast majority of the state for this annual period with portions of the eastern Interior and Panhandle near average.
The annual precipitation ranked fourth wettest on record for Alaska, with above average to record-high precipitation observed across all but the Central Interior and South Panhandle regions with below-average precipitation observed in the Aleutians. Juneau had its wettest year on record and Anchorage its wettest year in more than seven decades during 2022.
Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters
In 2022, the U.S. experienced 18 weather and climate disasters each incurring losses that exceeded $1 billion.
- The 18 events include: six severe storms, three tropical cyclones, three hail events, two tornadoes and one each for drought, flood, winter storm and wildfire events.
- The U.S. disaster costs for 2022 exceeded $165 billion, which is the third-highest cost on record.
- Hurricane Ian is the third most costly U.S. hurricane on record ($112.9 billion), behind only Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Hurricane Harvey (2017).
- The 2022 Western/Central Drought and Heat Wave was one of the more costly droughts on record, with a diverse array of direct impacts across different regions and industries. The drought's $22.2 billion cost was the second most expensive event for 2022.
- Over the last seven years (2016-2022), 122 separate billion-dollar disasters have killed at least 5,000 people and cost greater than $1 trillion in damage.
- 2022 marks a record eighth-consecutive year (2015-2022) where the U.S. experienced 10 or more separate billion-dollar disasters.
- Since records began in 1980, the U.S. has sustained 341 separate weather and climate disasters where overall damages/costs reached or exceeded $1 billion (based on the CPI adjustment to 2022) per event. The total cost of these 341 events exceeds $2.475 trillion.
Other Notable Extremes
- The North Atlantic Basin saw 14 named storms form during 2022, which is near the historical average. However, it was the least active season since 2015. The accumulated cyclone energy* (ACE) for the basin was about 80% of the annual average.
- August had no tropical storm activity in the North Atlantic Basin, with 2022 becoming only the third year, along with 1961 and 1997, since 1950 to have no activity during the month.
- The powerful remnants of Typhoon Merbok pounded Alaska’s western coast on September 17, pushing homes off their foundations and tearing apart protective berms as water flooded communities. This was the strongest storm to enter the Bering Sea during September in 70 years.
- On September 18, Hurricane Fiona brought massive flooding to Puerto Rico, with some areas receiving 12-18 inches of rain. One station reported more than two feet of rain in a 24-hour period.
- Hurricane Ian, with 150 mph sustained winds, made landfall in southwest Florida as a strong Category 4 hurricane on September 28, resulting in major flooding, damage and loss of life. Based on preliminary estimates, Ian was the third costliest U.S. hurricane on record behind Katrina and Harvey.
- On November 10, Hurricane Nicole made landfall along Florida’s eastern shore, flooding the coast and knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people. Nicole was the first hurricane to hit the U.S. during November in nearly 40 years.
- The Hermits Peak Fire became the largest wildfire on record in New Mexico at more than 341,000 acres consumed between April and June. Over 66,000 fires burned around 7.5 million acres across the U.S. this year, which is near average.
- On October 20, Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, ranked first and second respectively for the worst air quality among the world’s major cities, according to IQAIR, as smoke from a string of wildfires darkened skies across parts of the Pacific Northwest.
- Alaska saw one million acres burned by June 18 — the earliest such occurrence in a calendar year than anytime in the last 32 years. By July 1, 1.85 million acres had been consumed — the second-highest June total on record and the seventh-highest acreage burned for any calendar month on record for Alaska.
- Snowfall during the 2021-2022 snow season began in earnest with several atmospheric river events that brought early accumulations to parts of the Sierra, Cascades and central Rockies in October and December 2021. The snow season across the West waned during the second half of winter and ended with below-average snowpack across much of the region. From the central Plains to the Great Lakes and into the Northeast, snowfall was below average in December 2021. By January 2022, snow cover was above average across portions of the northern Plains, Midwest, Great Lakes and from the Appalachians to the Northeast. February remained well below average from the northeastern Rockies to the central Plains and across the central Appalachians.
- The 2022-2023 snow season was off to a good start during December 2022 after a powerful arctic front brought heavy snow across much of the country. More than 55% of the contiguous U.S. was covered by snow across much of the Pacific Northwest and mountainous West to the Tennessee Valley and from the Tennessee Valley to New England on Christmas Eve. During the last week of December and first week of January 2023, a series of strong atmospheric rivers ushered in copious amounts of rain to much of California and snow to the Sierra Nevada Range, helping to reduce drought and build up the winter snowpack.
- The preliminary tornado count for 2022 was near average with 1,331 tornadoes reported.
- March had triple the average number of tornadoes reported (293) and the most tornadoes reported for any March in the 1950-2022 record.
- Supercell thunderstorms traversed Iowa and produced multiple tornadoes on March 5. The first EF4 tornado in Iowa since October 2013 was confirmed and had the second-longest tornado path in Iowa since 1980. Six fatalities were reported with this tornado.
- On November 4-5, a tornado outbreak occurred across portions of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. A total of 31 tornadoes was confirmed by the National Weather Service, including two EF4 tornadoes, which brought significant damage to the region including mass power outages.
- On November 29-30, severe storms and tornadoes swept through parts of the South, downing trees, damaging homes in parts of Alabama and Mississippi. The National Weather Service confirmed 11 tornadoes during this outbreak including two EF3 tornadoes.
- December tornado statistics are still being reconciled in mid-January 2023. For the latest official tornado statistics, please refer to NOAA's Storm Events Database.
- The U.S. Climate Extremes Index (USCEI) for 2022 was near average nationally and ranked in the middle third of the 113-year record. But on a regional basis, elevated warm extremes in both maximum and minimum temperature were observed across portions of the Northeast, Southeast, South, Southwest and West. Elevated extremes in dry Palmer Drought Severity Index values were also seen across much of the western U.S. The USCEI is an index that tracks extremes (falling in the upper or lower 10% of the record) in temperature, precipitation, drought and landfalling tropical cyclones across the contiguous U.S.
For additional details regarding these highlights, please see the following pages:
*Temperature and precipitation values and ranks are based on preliminary data. Additional data received and processed after the release of this summary may result in small differences for annual values and ranks.
These regional summaries were provided by the six Regional Climate Centers and reflect conditions in their respective regions. These six regions differ spatially from the nine climatic regions of the National Centers for Environmental Information.
Northeast Region (Information provided by the Northeast Regional Climate Center)
2022 featured above-normal temperatures, a significant drought, and many notable storms.
2022 was the Northeast’s 16th warmest year since records began in 1895. The region’s average temperature of 48.4 degrees F was 0.6 degrees F above normal. State annual average temperatures ranged from 0.3 degrees F below normal in West Virginia, the lone cooler-than-normal state, to 1.6 degrees F above normal in Maine. 2022 ranked among the 20 warmest years on record for 10 of the 12 Northeast states: Massachusetts and Rhode Island, seventh warmest; Maine, eighth warmest; New Hampshire, ninth warmest; Vermont, 11th warmest; Connecticut, 12th warmest; New Jersey, 14th warmest; Delaware, 18th warmest; New York, 19th warmest; and Maryland, 20th warmest. July was notable for its hot days (high of at least 90 degrees F) and warm nights (low of at least 70 degrees F), particularly during a heatwave from July 19 to 25. Newark, New Jersey, had five straight days with a high of at least 100 degrees F for the first time on record, while Atlantic City, New Jersey, recorded five consecutive days with a high of at least 95 degrees F, tying its longest streak on record. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Kennedy Airport, New York, set/tied records for longest streak of days with a low at or above 75 degrees F with 10 days and 7 days, respectively. Philadelphia also recorded 15 days this July with a low at or above 75 degrees F, tying as the greatest number for any July and month on record at the site. August 2022 was the hottest August on record for Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, as well as for eight major climate sites: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Worcester, Massachusetts; Hartford, Connecticut; Albany and Islip, New York; Newark, New Jersey; Concord, New Hampshire; and Providence, Rhode Island. The number of hot days (high of at least 90 degrees F) and warm nights (low of at least 70 degrees F) during August was record setting at several sites. For instance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Newark, New Jersey, recorded a high of at least 90 degrees F during more than half of August, 19 days and 18 days, respectively, their greatest number for August on record. Philadelphia also saw 11 days with a low at or above 75 degrees F, its greatest number for August. Meanwhile, Hartford, Connecticut, had three such days, tying as its greatest for any month on record. The temperature at Bridgeport, Connecticut, did not drop below 75 degrees F for six straight days from August 5 to 10, tying its longest such streak. Portland, Maine, and Providence, Rhode Island, had their warmest low temperatures on record for August with 74 degrees F on August 7 and 78 degrees F on August 8, respectively. The number of hot days and warm nights during summer was also notable. For example, Providence, Rhode Island, recorded 10 summer days with a high of at least 95 degrees F, tying as its greatest number for the season. Meanwhile, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had 57 days during summer that the low remained at or above 70 degrees F, tying its record for summer, and 26 summer days with a low at or above 75 degrees F, setting a record for the season and beating the old record by five days. Summer 2022 tied the summer of 1993 as the hottest on record at Newark, New Jersey, with an average temperature of 79.2 degrees F. Multiple Northeast sites experienced their warmest November 1 to 7 period on record. From November 5 to 7, five major climate sites – Bridgeport, Connecticut; Burlington, Vermont; Islip and Kennedy Airport, New York; and Portland, Maine, - had their warmest November day on record, with high temperatures ranging from 75 degrees F to 80 degrees F. During the same period, 17 of the Northeast’s 35 major climate sites recorded their warmest low temperature for November, with those record warm low temperatures ranging from 59 degrees F to 67 degrees F. The first fall frost (minimum temperature of 32 degrees F or lower) at Islip, New York, occurred on November 15, tying as its latest date on record and making it the site’s longest frost-free season at 229 days. Multiple sites saw a record number of days this November with a high of at least 70 degrees F, including Dulles Airport, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with 10 days.
During 2022, the Northeast saw 45.40 inches of precipitation, which was 100 percent of normal. Annual precipitation for the states ranged from 89 percent of normal in Connecticut and Massachusetts to 109 percent of normal in Maine, its 19th wettest year since 1895. Overall, 10 of the 12 Northeast states experienced a drier-than-normal year. Newark, New Jersey, recorded its driest July on record with 0.55 inches of rain, beating the previous record of 0.84 inches from 1932. However, three West Virginia sites - Beckley, Charleston, and Huntington - tied their greatest number of July days with measurable precipitation (at least 0.01 inches) with 20 days, 19 days, and 18 days, respectively. Charleston, West Virginia, experienced its wettest summer on record with 24.43 inches of rain, surpassing the previous record of 23.13 inches from 1958. December 23 became the wettest December day on record at Buffalo, New York, with 1.98 inches of precipitation.
The U.S. Drought Monitor from January 4 showed 1 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 1 percent in moderate drought, and 13 percent as abnormally dry. Drought was generally confined to western Maine but abnormal dryness was present in all states except New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. During January, dryness expanded in northern New England, but contracted in West Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. There was little change in conditions during February. During March, drought and dryness contracted in northern New England but was introduced/expanded in southern parts of the Northeast, with all states but Massachusetts and Rhode Island experiencing drought or abnormal dryness by month’s end. The U.S. Drought Monitor from April 5 showed 1 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 3 percent in moderate drought, and 29 percent as abnormally dry. Timely precipitation, particularly during the first half of April, alleviated severe drought in western Maine and moderate drought in much of the Mid-Atlantic. Abnormal dryness also contracted across the region. The U.S. Drought Monitor from May 3 showed 1 percent of the Northeast in moderate drought and 17 percent as abnormally dry. During May and June, increasing precipitation deficits, declining soil moisture, and below-normal streamflow and groundwater levels led to the introduction/expansion of moderate drought in a large portion of New England and the introduction/expansion of abnormal dryness in parts of New York, New Jersey, and much of the rest of New England. However, plentiful precipitation allowed areas of moderate drought and abnormal dryness to ease in southern parts of the Northeast. The U.S. Drought Monitor from July 5 showed 2 percent of the Northeast in moderate drought and 12 percent as abnormally dry. Conditions deteriorated during July as precipitation deficits continued to increase, streamflow and groundwater levels declined, soils dried out, temperatures soared, and impacts on water resources, wildfires, and agriculture amplified. Severe drought was introduced/expanded in New England, while moderate drought was introduced/expanded in parts of New England, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Abnormal dryness was present in every Northeast state. The U.S. Drought Monitor from August 2 showed 5 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 18 percent in moderate drought, and 26 percent as abnormally dry. Conditions deteriorated further during August, with extreme drought introduced in southern New England and severe drought introduced/expanding in New England, southeastern New York, and New Jersey. Moderate drought and abnormal dryness also expanded in multiple parts of the Northeast. However, drought and dryness contracted in Maine, which received ample rainfall. The U.S. Drought Monitor from August 30 showed 2 percent of the Northeast in extreme drought, 9 percent in severe drought, 13 percent in moderate drought, and 35 percent as abnormally dry. Many drought-stricken areas of the Northeast saw near- or above-normal precipitation in September, helping to ease drought and abnormally dry conditions. Extreme drought in southern New England contracted to encompass only northeastern Massachusetts. Severe drought eased in northern New England and shrunk in coverage in the rest of the Northeast. Moderate drought and abnormal dryness also contracted across the region. The U.S. Drought Monitor from October 4 showed less than 1 percent of the Northeast in extreme drought, 3 percent in severe drought, 7 percent in moderate drought, and 16 percent as abnormally dry. During October, coastal areas tended to see above-normal precipitation, allowing drought and abnormal dryness to ease or shrink in coverage in those areas. For instance, extreme drought eased in northeastern Massachusetts, while severe drought was erased in Connecticut and New Jersey. Maine and Rhode Island went from moderate drought in early October to being free of any drought and dryness in late October. However, some interior portions of the Northeast such as central New York and western West Virginia were quite dry, causing abnormal dryness to expand or be introduced. The U.S. Drought Monitor from November 1 showed less than 1 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 2 percent in moderate drought, and 19 percent as abnormally dry. Plentiful precipitation erased severe drought in southeastern New York and reversed a drying trend in interior areas, easing abnormal dryness in a swath from eastern West Virginia to northern New York. However, coastal areas were generally drier, allowing drought and dryness to persist in areas such as northeastern Massachusetts and New York’s Long Island. The U.S. Drought Monitor from November 29 showed less than 1 percent of the Northeast in severe drought, 2 percent in moderate drought, and 9 percent as abnormally dry. Above-normal precipitation during December alleviated severe drought in northeastern Massachusetts and eased moderate drought in all locations except part of Long Island, New York. Abnormal dryness generally contracted in areas from Maryland to New Hampshire but was introduced or expanded slightly in interior areas such as central New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. The U.S. Drought Monitor from December 27 showed less than 1 percent of the Northeast in moderate drought and 9 percent as abnormally dry. There were numerous impacts from the drought conditions across the region. During summer, multiple waterways in southern New Hampshire, southern New England, southeastern New York, central Pennsylvania, and New Jersey observed record or near-record low streamflows. Portions of several waterways in Massachusetts such as the Parker and Ipswich rivers dried up entirely, significantly affecting aquatic wildlife and resulting in fish deaths. Low water levels in New England also affected recreational activities, contributed to increased harmful algae growth, and reduced the amount of power generated by some hydroelectric power plants such as those on the Deerfield and Connecticut rivers. Reservoir and groundwater levels declined during summer. Dry wells were reported in parts of Pennsylvania, New York, and New England. As of mid-September, 96 wells had run dry in Maine, where well drilling companies saw increased business. Stonington, Maine, purchased and trucked in 64,000 gallons of water at a cost of around seven thousand dollars. Drought conditions in a few communities such as Pembroke, Massachusetts, and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, led to issues such as reduced water pressure, discolored water, or a change in the water’s taste and smell. While rainfall in September and October generally increased reservoir and groundwater levels, they did not fully recover in some areas. For example, Wanaque Reservoir in New Jersey hovered around 50 percent capacity from late September through early November. In addition, a few Massachusetts towns were under boil water advisories due to E. coli being detected in the drinking water, with drought conditions followed by heavy rain being a possible cause. As drought and dryness intensified during summer in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the number of communities with water restrictions increased and, in some locations, the restrictions became more severe. Wetter weather in September and October allowed restrictions to be reduced or lifted in multiple locations. For example, the number of community water systems in New Hampshire with mandatory water restrictions was 54 in late July, peaked at 96 in early September, and fell to 89 by early November. However, communities such as Peabody and Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Norwalk, Connecticut, continued to have water restrictions in place in November due to low reservoir levels. There were also impacts to the agriculture industry. Dry conditions in May and June caused some farmers, particularly in New England, to begin irrigating crops earlier than usual, while some New York growers noted stressed crops. With deepening drought and dryness in July and August, farmers relied heavily on irrigation, in some cases for longer periods than usual. However, the demands of irrigation increased workloads and raised operation costs. In fact, one Massachusetts farmer estimated additional costs of up to $100,000 due to irrigation, while another Massachusetts farmer was paying $3,000 a day to water his apple crop. Growers also contended with irrigation water supplies that ran low, dried up, or had water quality issues. Some farmers hauled in water, adding additional costs. The lack of rain, combined with above-normal temperatures, led to stunted and drought-stressed crops, reduced yields, and crop losses in parts of New England, New York, and Pennsylvania. Hay quality and yields were reduced in drought-stricken areas, with some farmers getting only one cutting of hay instead of three and some using supplemental feed, further increasing operational costs. Christmas tree saplings dried up in multiple areas, with one Rhode Island grower estimating a loss of 70 percent of their crop worth equating to around $70,000 and some New England farms not fully opening or raising prices. Some farmers reported smaller but sweeter apples and fewer or smaller-sized pumpkins. Between reduced yields and increased costs to farmers, prices of crops, such as fall-favorite apples and pumpkins, increased in some areas. For instance, to offset costs, one grower on Long Island, New York, raised prices by 15 percent. However, the drought conditions generally led to fewer crop diseases. Many lawns experienced drought stress, turning brown and crunchy. The dry conditions also stressed trees, causing them to drop leaves prematurely and making them more prone to insects, disease, and falling. Drought conditions also affected wildfire activity and behavior. There were several brushfires in New England during May including a fire in New Hampshire’s White Mountains that took a week to contain and consumed 250 acres. During summer, dry grass and shrubs increased fuels available to fires, enhancing the fire risk in multiple states. In addition, below-normal or dry waterways meant limited water supplies to fight fires in rural areas. Fire restrictions were implemented in several New Jersey counties, while a ban on open flame and charcoal fires was enacted in Massachusetts state parks. Massachusetts in particular saw an uptick in drought-related fire activity, with over 100 wildfires in August, and fires that burned deeper and were more difficult to extinguish. Meanwhile, Maine saw more than 50 wildfires during August. During November, warm, dry, windy conditions helped fuel several wildfires in Pennsylvania and around 20 wildfires in West Virginia, with a few of the fires each charring hundreds of acres. Drought conditions in southern New England limited the mosquito population during summer. Businesses such as amusement parks have benefitted from the hot, dry weather.
- Notable Weather
Multiple storms affected the Northeast during January 2022. On January 3, a storm spread snow across the Mid-Atlantic, with the greatest snow totals of 12 to 16 inches from southern Maryland to southern New Jersey. Atlantic City, New Jersey, picked up 13.0 inches of snow, making it the site’s third snowiest January day on record and seventh all-time snowiest day. Travel was significantly disrupted in some locations due to hundreds of crashes and disabled vehicles and delayed or cancelled flights. Other impacts from the storm included power outages and school and business closures. In addition, higher-than-normal tides combined with the storm’s strong winds led to coastal flooding, closing roads. Another storm dropped snow on southern and coastal parts of the Northeast just a few days later, from January 6 to 7. The greatest snow totals of 12 to 15 inches were in parts of West Virginia, southern New England, and coastal Maine. Charleston, West Virginia, saw 10.5 inches of snow, its largest two-day snow total since January 2016. A Blizzard Warning was issued in Maine for the first time in nearly four years. Conditions led to difficult travel and school closures. At the same time, areas east of Lakes Erie and Ontario experienced a lake-effect snow event. The greatest snow totals approached 20 inches, with Buffalo, New York, having its second snowiest January day with 17.8 inches on January 6. A major winter storm dropped snow on much of the Northeast on January 16 and 17, with the greatest storm snow totals of 18 to 24 inches in western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Buffalo, New York, picked up 4.6 inches of snow in a single hour and wrapped up January 17 with 17.6 inches of snow, ranking as the site’s third snowiest January day since 1884. Buffalo had just recorded its second snowiest January day earlier in the month. Meanwhile, Erie, Pennsylvania, accumulated 13.6 inches of snow, making January 17 the site’s second snowiest January day. Some southern and coastal locations saw light ice accumulations and rain. The storm also produced strong winds, with gusts of 30 to 50 mph in interior locations and gusts of up to 70 mph in coastal locations. The gusts brought down trees and wires, leaving tens of thousands of customers without power in the region. Coastal flooding was reported along the New England coastline, resulting in some road closures. A nor’easter rapidly strengthened off the East Coast on January 29, dropping heavy snow and producing strong winds along coastal areas from Maryland to Maine. Storm snowfall totals exceeded 12 inches in these areas, with the greatest amounts of 24 to 30 inches in parts of eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York’s Long Island. January 29 tied as the all-time snowiest day on record for Boston, Massachusetts, which picked up 23.6 inches of snow, and set the record for all-time snowiest day at Providence, Rhode Island, which accumulated 18.8 inches of snow. Meanwhile, Islip, New York, had its second all-time snowiest day and Atlantic City, New Jersey, had its sixth all-time snowiest day. January 29 snowfall also ranked among the ten greatest one-day snowfalls for January at several other climate sites. The storm pushed monthly snowfall totals to record territory at Atlantic City. The site accumulated 33.2 inches during the month, making it the snowiest January on record and the third all-time snowiest month. Several other major climate sites saw one of their five snowiest Januarys, which also ranked among the 10 snowiest all-time months for a few of the sites. The storm’s wind gusts generally ranged from 25 to 50 mph in coastal locations, with gusts of 65 to 80 mph in Downeast Maine, Cape Cod, and Long Island. Blizzard conditions occurred in coastal areas from Delaware to Maine, including locations such as Atlantic City; Providence; Boston; and Portland, Maine. Marshfield, Massachusetts, experienced blizzard conditions for 12 hours. More than 100,000 customers in Massachusetts lost power during the storm. In addition, several areas, particularly Cape Cod, experienced coastal flooding.
- The Northeast saw multiple severe weather events during 2022.
- On March 31, severe thunderstorms spawned three tornadoes in Pennsylvania: an EF-2 in Armstrong County, an EF-1 tornado in Bucks County, and an EF-1 tornado in Montour and Lycoming counties. The tornadoes snapped or uprooted hundreds of trees, destroyed several barns, and caused minor damage to buildings such as removing shingles and blowing out windows. It was Pennsylvania’s first EF-2 tornado in March since 2011. These were the first March tornadoes for Armstrong and Lycoming counties since recordkeeping began in 1950. Meanwhile, this was the first March tornado since 1983 for Bucks County.
- During May, unusually large hail, the size of limes and baseballs, fell in parts of Delaware, Maryland, and New Jersey. A 3-inch hailstone in Calvert County, Maryland, and 2.5-inch hailstones in Camden and Burlington counties in New Jersey were/tied their state’s largest hailstones for any May since records began in 1950. Meanwhile, a 2.25-inch hailstone in Sussex County, Delaware, was the state’s second largest hailstone on record. The hailstones were each county’s largest on record, except for Camden County which was the county’s second largest hailstone on record. During May, there were also several tornadoes. For instance, on May 27, an EF-1 tornado destroyed several large barns and sheds, damaged silos, blew down crops, and left three people injured along its over three-mile track in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
- June was another active severe weather month, with multiple instances of significant straight-line wind damage. For instance, on June 14, a derecho moved through northern West Virginia, particularly Ohio County, damaging dozens of buildings and downing hundreds of trees, which blocked roads and caused thousands to lose power. Three people were injured in conjunction with the storm. On June 16 and 17, portions of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, experienced straight-line winds of up to 100 mph that damaged roofs, downed trees, and left one person injured. Large hail also fell in June. Locations such as Broome and Cayuga counties in New York, Monongalia and Preston counties in West Virginia, and Mercer and Juniata counties in Pennsylvania saw hailstones of 2 to 3 inches, which were among the largest, if not the largest, hailstones for these counties on record.
- During July, more severe weather occurred. From July 12 to 14, widespread wind damage occurred across the Northeast. Two tornadoes, an EF-1 and an EF-0, and straight-line winds of up to 105 mph caused extensive damage along a 23-mile long path in Hampshire County, West Virginia. Storm reports noted significant tree damage, snapped power poles, structural damage to farm buildings, and leveled cornfields. A swath of straight-line winds of up to 110 mph from Caroline County, Maryland, to Sussex County, Delaware, caused considerable tree and utility pole damage, resulted in some structural damage to outbuildings, and left one person injured. One person was killed and another was injured in Washington County, New York, and Berkshire County, Massachusetts, when straight-line winds of up to 85 mph snapped and uprooted trees. Straight-line winds in late July resulted in at least two fatalities and one injury. On July 28, an EF-2 tornado that traveled 10 miles across Wyoming County, New York, damaging at least 24 buildings and causing an estimated $1.2 million in damage. It was the county’s first in over 20 years and tied as its strongest.
- In early August, Ohio County, West Virginia, saw its first tornado since July 1977, an EF-2 that traversed across Ohio and Marshall counties in West Virginia and into Washington County, Pennsylvania. Three people died and one person was injured when they were struck by lightning in Washington, D.C.
- There were multiple flash flooding events during 2022:
- West Virginia experienced multiple rounds of flash flooding. In early May, as much as 5 inches of rain flooded roads and inundated buildings leading to road closures, water rescues, and a fatality. Another flash-flood fatality occurred in the state in mid-June. In mid-July, flash flooding in southern West Virginia damaged more than 100 homes and businesses, with dozens being completely destroyed. Multiple roads and bridges were damaged, as well. In late July, flash flooding from 4 to 9 inches of rain in southern West Virginia inundated homes, washed out roads, caused mudslides, and led to a few rescues. On August 1, flash flooding in southwestern West Virginia flooded roads and houses and caused mudslides that destroyed a house, leaving five people with minor injuries. More flash flooding occurred on August 10 and 11 when as much as 4 to 6 inches of rain fell, with high water entering homes and businesses and washing out and damaged roads, resulting in a few water rescues. On August 15, extreme rainfall once again flooded parts of West Virginia. Charleston recorded 3.54 inches of rain, nearly an entire August worth, on August 15, making it the site’s second wettest August calendar day on record and sixth all-time wettest day. Hourly data shows the site picked up 4.20 inches of rain in six hours from late on August 14 through the early morning of August 15, qualifying as a 200-year storm event. Swift-moving water inundated roads and buildings, uprooted trees, and moved and overturned cars. Flooding damaged more than 100 buildings, bridges, and roads in the two counties. More than 20 water rescues were performed. In addition, some residents were stranded due to damaged infrastructure or multiple mudslides blocking roads. Utilities such as water, power, and sewer were cutoff in several locations, in a few cases for multiple days. Residents were also left to clean up mud and debris that were left behind when the floodwaters receded.
- Several other areas saw flash flooding, as well. On July 2, as much as 6 inches of rain in parts of Maryland caused rapid rises on waterways, including Gwynns Fall in Baltimore which rose 7.7 feet in 30 minutes. Flash flooding caused road closures, left numerous vehicles stranded, resulted in multiple water rescues, and inundated some homes, displacing or trapping residents. On July 18, flash flooding in the New York City metro area made roads impassable, stranding vehicles and resulting in water rescues. For instance, over four inches of rain fell in Westchester County, New York, where the Bronx River Parkway had as much as three feet of water under an overpass and was closed in both directions. From August 4 to 5, in western Pennsylvania, flash flooding submerged numerous roads, resulting in a few water rescues, and inundated several basements with as much as five feet of water, requiring some residents to evacuate. Up to 5 inches of rain on August 10 caused flash flooding in parts of Maryland. There were numerous road closures and multiple water rescues in Prince George’s County, where the Northeast Anacostia River rose over 7.5 feet in one hour. From September 4 to 7, up to 11 inches in Providence County, Rhode Island led to flash flooding, with floodwaters entering a dorm and displacing about 30 students, flooding along Interstate 95 causing an hours-long traffic jam, and the heavy rain contributing to a collapsed roof. From October 13 to 15, a slow-moving storm system fueled by moisture from the Atlantic Ocean dropped as much as 6 inches of rain on Maine where flash flooding led to road closures, caused two roads to collapse, and stranded several vehicles. The storm also produced gusty winds that caused over 100,000 customers to lose power.
Midwest Region (Information provided by the Midwest Regional Climate Center)
The average temperature for the Midwest in 2022 was 48.4 degrees F (9.1 degrees C), which was 0.7 degrees F (0.4 degrees C) below the 1991-2020 normal. The greatest departures were in the northwestern portion of the region where average temperatures were 1-2 degrees F (0.6-1.1 degrees C) below normal. Small, isolated pockets of temperatures 1-2 degrees F (0.6-1.1 degrees C) above normal were spread across the lower Midwest. Overall, all nine states had below-normal annual temperatures. Preliminary statewide annual average temperatures ranged from 0.1 degrees F (0.1 degrees C) below normal in Kentucky and Ohio to 1.8 degrees F (1 degrees C) below normal in Minnesota. Regional and state average temperature rankings were unremarkable for 2022. Annual minimum temperatures were 0-2 degrees F (0-1.1 degrees C) below normal across the region. The coolest minimum temperature departures were along and west of the Mississippi River, with minimum temperatures closer to normal in the east. Maximum temperatures were divided from north to south. Maximum temperatures were 1-3 degrees F (0.6-1.7 degrees C) below normal in the upper Midwest and 1-3 degrees F (0.6-1.7 degrees C) above normal in the lower Midwest.
- Notable Temperature-Related Station Records:
- Toledo, OH – 5th warmest maximum temperature, POR 1875-2022
- Red Lake Falls, MN – 5th coldest maximum temperature, POR 1913-2022
- St. Joseph, MO – Coldest minimum temperature, POR 1914-2022
- Detroit, MI – Greatest number of days at or above 85 degrees F / 29 degrees C (64 days), POR 1934-2022
- Toledo, OH – tied for 2nd greatest number of days at or above 85 degrees F / 29 degrees C (75 days), POR 1875-2022
- St. Louis, MO – Tied for 2nd longest consecutive stretch of high temperatures at or above 80 degrees F / 27 degrees C (88 days), POR 1874-2022
- Minneapolis, MN – Longest consecutive stretch of daily high temperatures at or above 70 degrees F / 21 degrees C (118 days), POR 1873-2022
- Akron, OH – Tied for the longest consecutive stretch of daily high temperatures at or above 70 degrees F / 21 degrees C (112 days), POR 1888-2022
Annual precipitation for the Midwest was 35 inches (889 mm), which was 2.9 inches (73.7 mm) below the 1991-2020 normal, or 92 percent of normal. All nine states had below-normal annual precipitation, with preliminary statewide totals that ranged from 0.83 inches (21.1 mm) below normal in Ohio to 8.24 inches (209.3 mm) below normal in Iowa. Iowa had the 20th driest year on record (dating back to 1895). While conditions overall were dryer than usual, precipitation was 4-12 inches (101.6-304.8 mm) above normal across far northern Minnesota, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, central Ohio, and in isolated pockets across the lower Midwest. Snowfall was highly variable across the region during the 2022 calendar year. Snowfall was 100-300 percent of normal across much of Missouri and Kentucky, and up to 200 percent of normal across northern Minnesota. Snowfall was 25-75 percent of normal for much of Indiana, Ohio, and western Iowa. Snowfall in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan was a mix of above and below normal.
- Notable Temperature-Related Station Records:
- International Falls, MN – Wettest year on record, POR 1940-2022
- Sioux City, IA – 3rd driest year on record, POR 1893-2022
- Grand Rapids, MI – 2nd snowiest calendar year on record, POR 1904-2022
- Akron, OH – Most number of days with greater than or equal to 0.01” (0.25 mm) of precipitation (181 days), POR 1897-2022
- International Falls, MN – Most number of days with greater than or equal to 1” (25.4) of precipitation (9 days), POR 1940-2022
Drought was widespread and significant across the Midwest in 2022. The year started with drought confined to the northwest portion of the region, a pattern that would persist through March. Then a wet and cool April brought drought relief to the upper Midwest. However, while most of the region was improving, drought in western Iowa expanded and intensified. Western Iowa would remain in extreme (D3) to exceptional (D4) drought through the duration of 2022. By mid-May, just 1 percent of the region was in drought and 7 percent was abnormally dry, marking the lowest drought extent for all of 2022. Drought coverage remained low for May and early June, but hot early summer conditions paired with high atmospheric water demand quickly depleted moisture reserves. Conditions rapidly declined across the lower Midwest starting in late June. By late July, 42 percent of the region was dry or in drought, with the worst conditions in southern Missouri and western Iowa. Pockets of moderate (D1) and severe (D2) drought were spread across the entire Midwest. Total corn crop loss was reported in several southwest Missouri counties, along with feed shortages for livestock and declining surface water supplies more broadly in the western portion of the region. Conditions started to improve in August before again spreading and intensifying in September. Conditions peaked in late October with 51 percent of the region in D1-D4 drought and 31 percent abnormally dry. Persistent drought stress resulted in record and near-record low flows on the lower Mississippi and Ohio rivers that severely affected navigation. Burn bans, poor forage quality, and reduced hydropower production were reported across the Midwest. The year closed with drought or dryness affecting 67 percent of the region, including at least a portion of all nine states. The driest conditions were in western Iowa, southern Minnesota, and eastern Michigan.
- Notable Weather
There were 5,215 combined tornado, hail, and severe wind reports across the Midwest during 2022, which was about 81 percent of the median annual frequency of severe weather reports from 2000-2021. Minnesota had the greatest number of total severe weather reports at 1,089, which was 202 percent of the median. Missouri and Iowa had the fewest number of severe weather reports relative to the 2000-2021 median at 61 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Regionwide, there were fewer tornado and hail reports than usual, 85 percent and 49 percent of the median, respectively, with severe wind near the long-term median number of reports. Multiple February Snowstorms: A winter storm on February 3-4 brought 6-15 inches (15.2-38.1 cm) of snow, along with ice and sleet, from Missouri to Michigan. Schools closed, flights were delayed, and an excessive number of accidents halted traffic on Interstates 39, 74, 55, and 57 in central Illinois. February 16-18 brought additional snow and ice accumulations that caused a 100-car pileup and a 2.5-day road closure on Interstate 39 in central Illinois. A fatal weather-induced crash on Interstate 65 also left northern Indiana drivers stranded overnight. March 5-6 Tornado Outbreak: An early-season severe weather outbreak on March 5-6 affected Iowa, Illinois, and surrounding states with over 60 reported tornadoes, large hail, and widespread damaging winds. In central Iowa, three supercells produced 10 confirmed tornadoes, including an EF-4 that killed six people and injured five along its 70-mile (112.7 km) path. Hailstones in Iowa ranged from golf ball- to baseball-size, and a wind gust of 81 mph (130.4 kph) was measured in Rockford, Illinois. Cold and Windy April: April was notably windy and cold across the Midwest, with nearly 900 low temperature records broken regionwide. Minnesota had its 10th coldest April dating back to 1895. Winds were unrelenting. Minneapolis recorded 22 days with gusts over 35 mph (56.3 kph), the most since 1973, when records began. St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis all had gusts over 35 mph (56.3 kph) for half the days in April. In Iowa, 18 weather stations reported the greatest number of hours on record of winds exceeding 20 mph (32.1 kph). Extreme Heat and Humidity in Mid-May: A record-setting heatwave brought hot and humid conditions to the Midwest from May 8-14. More than 1,500 daily high temperature records were broken or tied. Columbia, Missouri, had six consecutive days with record-high temperatures. Three heat-related fatalities were reported in Chicago, where a three-day minimum temperature record was set (72.3 degrees F/22.4 degrees C). Many regional locations exceeded 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C) for the first time in 2022, about a month earlier than normal. Dew point temperatures in the upper 70s and lower 80s (24-28 degrees C) pushed the heat index over 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) in Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin during the heatwave’s peak. Record Spring Wetness and Flooding in Northern Minnesota: Above-normal winter snowpack, delayed ice-out, and repeated rainstorms in April and May spurred widespread historic flooding across northern Minnesota that lasted into summer. International Falls had the wettest spring since record-keeping began in 1895, with over 14 inches (355.6 mm) of precipitation. Record-high streamflows and inland lake levels resulted in significant flood impacts, including damaged homes, National Guard deployments, and numerous closures of roads, trails, and recreational areas. Multiple May Severe Weather Events in Minnesota: An unsettled weather pattern contributed to one of the most active Mays in Minnesota history. Severe weather occurred over six days and, in most cases, multiple rounds per day, totaling 568 storm reports. There were 373 severe weather warnings, the highest since 1986 when reliable record-keeping began. Fifty-one tornadoes were reported, with the most happening over Memorial Day weekend. Three confirmed EF-2 tornadoes affected Grant and Wadena counties, causing damage to power poles, agricultural structures, trees, and buildings. Reports of large hail and high winds over 80 mph (128.7 kph) were numerous. June 13 Derecho and Extreme Heat: A straight-line wind event (derecho) stretched from Wisconsin to Ohio on June 13, yielding more than 260 severe weather reports, including a 98-mph (157.7 kph) wind gust in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Over a half-million people were without power as excessive heat and humidity settled across the region. Columbus, Ohio, measured a record-high dew point temperature of 83 degrees F/ 28.3 degrees C (115 degrees F / 46.1 degrees C heat index) on June 14. Temperatures in Louisville, Kentucky, stayed at or above 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) for a record 120 consecutive hours from June 12-17. Regionwide, more than 1,500 high temperature records were set from June 13-23. Historic Flash Flooding in July: A stalled weather system fueled two historic flash flood events across the lower Midwest in late July. An estimated 8-12 inches (203.2-304.8 mm) of rain fell across the St. Louis, Missouri area July 25-26, leading to numerous swift water rescues, flooded homes, closed interstate highways, and at least two fatalities. On July 27-28, 5-10 inches (127-254 mm) of rapid rainfall drenched eastern Kentucky, where more than 1,300 people were rescued by helicopter and boat as damaged infrastructure isolated communities, and 37 lives were lost. Damages for these two events totaled $1.2 billion. Drought Rollercoaster: An extended period of low precipitation, warm temperatures, and high evaporative demand led to rapid drought intensification in late June and July across the lower Midwest, stressing crops, lawns, and streams. Conditions started to improve in August before again spreading and intensifying. By October, persistent drought stress across the north central US led to record low flows on the lower Mississippi and Ohio rivers, severely affecting navigation. Burn bans, poor forage quality, and reduced hydropower production were reported across the Midwest. Dangerous cold and wind grip the Midwest in Late December: A powerful, fast-moving Arctic cold front brought frigid temperatures, high winds, and snow to the central US from December 22-25. Dangerous wind chills from -20 to -40 degrees F (-28.9 to -40 degrees C) gripped the Midwest as winds gusted 30-50 mph (48.2-80.5 kph) and higher. Chicago and Des Moines clocked over 80 consecutive hours with subzero wind chills. While snowfall across the lower Midwest was a modest 1-5 inches (2.5-12.7 cm), high winds caused extensive blowing and drifting that halted ground and air transportation for days. Localized power outages, busted water mains, frozen pipes, and at least 14 fatalities were reported across the region.
- For further details on the weather and climate events in the Midwest, see the weekly and monthly reports at the Midwest Climate Watch page.
Southeast Region (Information provided by the Southeast Regional Climate Center)
Temperatures in 2022 were near to above average across most of the Southeast region, including Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The greatest departures were found across the Florida Peninsula and eastern portions of Georgia and the Carolinas, where mean annual temperatures were 1 to 2 degrees F (0.5 to 1.1 degrees C) above average, with some locations between 2 and 4 degrees F (1.1 and 2.2 degrees C) above average for the year. Of 202 long-term stations (i.e., period of record of at least 50 years), 24 observed one of their top 5 warmest mean annual temperatures on record. Tampa, FL (1890-2022), and Fort Myers, FL (1902-2022) observed their warmest mean annual temperature on record. West Palm Beach, FL (1894-2022) and Orlando, FL (1898-2022) observed their third warmest years on record, Raleigh, NC (1887-2022) tied its third warmest year on record, Miami, FL (1901-2022) observed its fifth warmest year on record, and Daytona Beach, FL (1924-2022) and Wilmington, NC (1870-2022) tied their fifth warmest years on record. Of 202 long-term stations, 29 observed one of their top 5 highest annual counts of days with a maximum temperature equal to or greater than 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C), including Jacksonville, FL (227 days, tied for fifth most on record since 1871), Tallahassee, FL (229 days, tied for fifth most on record since 1892), Pensacola, FL (203 days, tied for fourth most on record since 1879), Macon, GA (200 days, second most on record since 1892), and Lynchburg, VA (141 days, second most on record since 1893). In addition, a few stations observed or tied their highest annual count of days with a maximum temperature equal to or greater than 85 degrees F (29.4 degrees C), including Fort Myers, FL (260 days, most on record since 1902), Miami, FL (231 days, most on record since 1901), Tampa, FL (219 days, most since 1890), and Mobile, AL (162 days, tied for most on record 1872). Alma Bacon County Airport in Georgia (1938-2022) tied its all-time highest daily maximum temperature of 105 degrees F (40.6 degrees C) on June 23rd. Winter Haven, FL (1941-2022) set its all-time daily maximum temperature of 105 degrees F (40.6 degrees C) on October 11th, breaking the old record of 103 degrees F (39.4 degrees C) last set on June 17, 1985. Daily minimum temperatures were also noteworthy in many places. Of 202 long-term stations, 32 observed one of their top 5 highest counts of days with a minimum temperature equal to or greater than 70 degrees F (21.1 degrees C). Though many of these stations were found across the southern tier of the region, a few were found across the northern tier. For example, Staunton, VA, located at 1,400 feet (426.7 m) elevation in the Shenandoah Valley, recorded 17 days with a minimum temperature equal to or greater than 70 degrees, which is the third most in a record going back to 1893 (the most days was 22 in 1926). Brunswick McKinnon Airport in Georgia (1944-2022) tied its all-time highest minimum temperature of 83 degrees F (28.3 degrees C) on June 24th. Cross City, FL (1948-2022) set its all-time highest minimum temperature of 80 degrees F (26.7 degrees C) on June 25th, breaking the old record of 79 degrees F (26.1 degrees C) last set on June 21, 2019.
Annual precipitation totals were variable across the Southeast region in 2022. Of 202 long-term stations, 105 (52 percent) recorded below average precipitation for the year. The driest locations were found across central and southern portions of Georgia and eastern portions of the Carolinas and Virginia, where annual precipitation totals ranged from 5 to over 20 inches (127 to over 508 mm) below average. Annual precipitation was also below average across the U.S. Virgin Islands. The lowest annual precipitation total among the long-term stations was recorded at a Cooperative Observer station in Lumberton, NC (1903-2022), which observed its driest year on record with 26.07 inches (662 mm). In contrast, above average precipitation was recorded across much of Puerto Rico, Alabama, and the Florida Peninsula, as well as western and central portions of North Carolina and Virginia, where annual precipitation totals ranged from 5 to 20 inches (127 to 508 mm) above average. Of 202 long-term stations, 97 (48 percent) recorded above average precipitation for the year. Of these 97 stations, 56 (58 percent) recorded precipitation totals that were above the 75th percentile. Three long-term stations in south-central Virginia recorded one of their wettest years on record. Rocky Mount, VA (1894-2022) recorded its fifth wettest year on record with 54.37 inches (1381 mm) of precipitation. Martinsville, VA (1930-2022) recorded its fourth wettest year on record with 59.36 inches (1508 mm) of precipitation, while Pulaski, VA (1920-2022) recorded its third wettest year on record with 51.17 inches (1300 mm) of precipitation. The greatest annual precipitation total among the long-term stations in the mainland Southeast was recorded in Highlands, NC (1879-2022), which observed its sixth wettest year on record with 106.32 inches (2700 mm). The greatest annual precipitation across the entire Southeast region was recorded by a Cooperative Observer at the Maricao Fish Hatchery (1955-2022), located along the western slopes of the Cordillera Central in Puerto Rico, which observed its second wettest year with 132.12 inches (3356 mm). The record is 134.33 inches (3412 mm) set in 1998. Additionally, several stations recorded their all-time highest daily precipitation amount in 2022. Most of these were associated with Hurricane Ian on the 28th and 29th of September. Daytona Beach, FL (1923-2022) recorded 14.72 inches (373.9 mm) on the 29th, breaking the old record of 12.85 inches (326.4 mm) set back on October 10, 1924, while Venice, FL (1927-2022) recorded 14.79 inches (375.7 mm) on the 28th, breaking the old record of 11.82 inches (300.2 mm) set back June 25, 1992.
January 2022 began with nearly half of the Southeast region in some designation of drought. Moderate (D1) drought was found across portions of the Carolinas and Virginia, as well as across parts of Puerto Rico. Drought was largely absent across Georgia, the Florida Peninsula, and much of Alabama. However, over the next few months, new areas of drought emerged and expanded across much of Florida and central and eastern sections of Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas. By early March, about 25 percent of the region was in at least moderate (D1) drought, with a small area of severe (D2) drought along the Big Bend region of Florida. During the spring months, drought conditions improved across much of Alabama and Florida, but worsened across the coastal plain of Georgia and the Carolinas, with severe (D2) drought emerging by early May and persisting through June. The summer months also saw an emergence and intensification of drought across much of the mid-South, with moderate (D1) drought covering a large portion of Georgia and South Carolina. Small pockets of severe (D2) drought were also observed in these areas. By the end June, about 60 percent of the region was in some designation of drought, while over a quarter of the region was in either moderate (D1) or severe (D2) drought. Drought conditions also expanded and intensified across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. A wet pattern over the second half of the summer, including a few tropical systems, helped improve or erase drought conditions across much of the Southeast. By September, only 15 percent of the region was classified as abnormally dry (D0), while less than 1 percent was in moderate (D1) drought. Drought conditions were also eliminated across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. However, drought emerged again in October, spreading eastward across the region throughout the month (except across the Florida Peninsula, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands). By early November, over two-thirds of the region was in some designation of drought, and 30 percent of the region was in at least moderate (D1) drought. Severe (D2) drought was observed across much of central and northern Georgia and the western Panhandle of Florida. By the end of the year, about 40 percent of the region was in some designation of drought. Severe (D2) drought was eliminated across central and northern Georgia. However, moderate (D1) drought was present across southern portions of Alabama and Georgia and eastern portions of North Carolina, while severe (D2) drought remained across the western Panhandle of Florida.
- Notable Weather
There were 4,380 reports of severe weather across the Southeast region in 2022, which is well above the median annual frequency of 2,940 reports over the period 2000 to 2021 (149 percent of normal). The fewest number of reports was found in Florida (556 reports, 12.6 percent of the total), while the greatest number of reports was found in Virginia (1,029 reports, 23.5 percent of the total). Thunderstorm winds accounted for 83 percent of all severe weather reports (159 percent of normal). A total of 209 tornadoes (86 EF-0s, 95 EF-1s, 22 EF-2s, 5 EF-3s, 1 EF-4) were confirmed across the Southeast in 2022, which is above the median frequency of 154 over the period 2000 to 2021 (136 percent of normal). On January 16th, an EF-2 tornado destroyed at least 30 homes and injured three people near Fort Myers, FL. An EF-2 tornado destroyed several homes and lofted a manufactured home 50 yards (45.7 m) across a road in Greene County, AL on February 3rd. One person died and eight were injured. On March 31st, an EF-3 tornado destroyed several manufactured homes in Washington County, FL. Two people were killed and one was injured. Over 60 tornadoes were confirmed across the region during an outbreak on April 5th and 6th. The strongest was an EF-4 that damaged and destroyed numerous trees and structures. One fatality and 12 injuries were reported from this tornado. A rare EF-1 tornado touched down in Arecibo, PR on May 1st. This was just the third tornado confirmed in Puerto Rico since records began in 1950. Several tornadoes were reported in association with Hurricane Ian. The strongest was an EF-2 that produced considerable damage to structures, trees, and vehicles in Palm Beach County, FL on September 27th. Two injuries were reported. On October 29th, an EF-1 tornado injured three people Baldwin County, AL when the mobile home they were occupying rolled onto its side. Twelve tornadoes were confirmed during an outbreak on the 29th and 30th of November. The strongest was an EF-3 that caused significant damage to trees and structures in Washington County, AL. Two EF-2 tornadoes were also confirmed in Elmore and Montgomery Counties in Alabama. Two people were killed, and one was injured when an uprooted tree fell on their mobile home. Another person was injured when the mobile home they were occupying flipped upside down. Eight tornadoes were confirmed during an outbreak on the 14th and 15th of December. Two injuries were reported in Pinellas County, FL. There were 445 reports of hail in 2022, which is below the median frequency of 501 (89 percent of normal). The largest hailstone recorded was baseball-sized (3 inches (76.2mm)) in Louisa, VA on June 16th. There were 63 rip current fatalities in the United States in 2022. Of these, 40 (63 percent) occurred in the Southeast region. There were 19 lightning-related fatalities in the United States in 2022. Of these, 13 (68 percent) occurred in the Southeast region.
- 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season
After several above-normal seasons, the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season was near-normal in terms of the number of storms and accumulated cyclone energy. In total, there were 14 named storms, eight of which became hurricanes. Two of these storms reached Category 3 intensity, which classifies them as major hurricanes. These numbers are near their climatological averages (over the period 1991-2020) of 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and two major hurricanes. The total accumulated cyclone energy in the Atlantic Basin was 95.1, which is about 80 percent of normal over the period 1991-2020. Though these numbers are close to their climatological averages, the 2022 season was one of the costliest on record with damage estimates exceeding $55 billion. Of the 14 named storms, six affected the Southeast region, including both major hurricanes. Potential Tropical Cyclone One dropped up to a foot (304.8 mm) of rain across parts of South Florida, resulting in significant flooding on the 3rd and 4th of June. Miami Beach, FL (1927-2022) recorded its all-time highest daily precipitation total of 11 inches (279.4 mm) on the 4th, breaking the previous record of 9.3 inches (236.2 mm) set on June 6, 2009. After crossing Florida, it became Tropical Storm Alex and produced high surf and dangerous rip currents off the Atlantic coast from Florida to Virginia. On July 2nd, Tropical Storm Colin formed near Charleston, SC and dropped between 2 and 7 inches (50.8 and 177.8 mm) of precipitation along coastal sections of the Carolinas. The storm also produced dangerous rip currents off the North Carolina coast. There were no named tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Basin during the month of August for the first time since 1997 and for the first time on record (since 1851) during a La Niña season. Tropical Storm Earl brought heavy rain, gusty winds, and dangerous rip currents to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on the 3rd and 4th of September. Landslides and flash flooding were reported across the islands. Later in the month, Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. Heavy rain contributed to numerous landslides and rockslides and washed away roads and bridges. High winds knocked out power to over one million residents and businesses, and nearly half of the island had no running water for several days after the storm. At least 25 deaths in Puerto Rico have been attributed to Fiona. Hurricane Ian made multiple landfalls in southwest Florida on the 28th of September. It tied for the fifth strongest landfalling hurricane on record in the United States with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph (67.1 m/s). Ian caused catastrophic damage in Fort Myers and Naples due to high winds and storm surge, which exceeded 20 feet (6 m) in places. Heavy rain was also recorded across central Florida, which set a few monthly precipitation records (e.g., Daytona Beach, FL; Orlando, FL). Over 100 fatalities have been attributed to Hurricane Ian in Florida, making it the deadliest hurricane in the state since 1935. After crossing Florida, Ian entered the Atlantic Ocean and made a third landfall on the South Carolina coast. As it moved inland, it dropped up to 5 inches (127 mm) of precipitation across the Carolinas and Virginia. Hurricane Nicole made landfall near Vero Beach, FL on November 10th, making it just the third hurricane on record (since 1851) to make landfall in Florida in the month of November. Nicole produced significant storm surge and high surf along the east coast of Florida, particularly in the Daytona Beach area. Heavy rain was also recorded across central Florida in many of the same areas that were affected by Hurricane Ian. At least five fatalities in Florida have been confirmed from Nicole and damage estimates in the state exceed $500 million. In addition, the subtropical low that would eventually become Hurricane Nicole dropped over 10 inches (254 mm) of precipitation across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, resulting in landslides and localized flooding.
- For more information, please visit the Southeast Regional Climate Center Home Page.
High Plains Region (Information provided by the High Plains Regional Climate Center)
2022 was another year marked by dryness and extreme drought, with the worst conditions shifting from the northern to the southern part of the region. Drought conditions were improved in the Dakotas after near-record precipitation in April, finally offering relief from the conditions of 2021. While in Kansas and Nebraska, dryness dominated the entire year, and an extremely warm summer did no favors. Agriculture struggled in those states this year, with problems likely to linger into 2023. Streamflow was low throughout the region; however, mountain snowpack was slightly above normal at the end of the year, offering hope for some relief.
Temperatures across the region this year were slightly above or below normal. Most of the drought-stricken areas in the southern Plains were slightly above normal while cooler temperatures were present in the Dakotas and Wyoming. The year began cooler, before rapidly heating up during the summer. Multiple heat and cool outbreaks impacted the region, leading to numerous daily records being broken. One of these heatwaves occurred in May, leading to 720 records being broken. While an arctic cold air outbreak, combined with high winds, in late December led to wind chills plummeting to –40 degrees F (-40 degrees C) for much of the region.
- The following locations had notable temperature records during 2022:
- Cheyenne, Wyoming recorded their warmest summer on record. The average temperature was 70.6 degrees F (21.4 degrees C), breaking the previous record of 69.9 degrees F (21.1 degrees C) set in 2021 and 2020.
- Cheyenne, Wyoming observed its greatest 1-hour temperature drop on December 21. In 30 minutes, the temperature dropped 40 degrees F (22.2 degrees C), breaking the previous record of 37 degrees F (20.6 degrees C).
- Casper, Wyoming observed its lowest temperature on record of –42 degrees F (-41.1 degrees C) on December 22. The previous record of –41 degrees F (-40.6 degrees C) set on December 21, 1990.
- Jetmore, Kansas observed 41 days above 100 degrees F (37.8 degrees C) and 73 days above 90 degrees F (32.2 degrees C). That is nearly 50 and 81 percent of the summer days, respectively.
- Omaha, Nebraska recorded its highest temperature at 5 am on August 3. The temperature observed at that time was 88 degrees F (31.1 degrees C).
This was an extremely dry year for much of the region, with parts of Kansas and Nebraska observing their driest year on record. Late winter offered isolated pockets of above-normal precipitation, however, large-scale precipitation was not present until April. Several significant blizzards dumped up to 36 inches (914.4 mm) of snow in North Dakota and parts of South Dakota, leading to flooding along the Red River of the North. These wet conditions continued into May for the northern part of the region, while elsewhere conditions mostly remained dry. Precipitation throughout the region remained spotty at best through the end of the year. Numerous locations in the southern portions of the region ranked in the top 10 driest, with agricultural production significantly reduced this year. Wildfires and dust storms were also prevalent throughout the entire year in Kansas and Nebraska in response to the arid conditions. The severe weather season was mostly quiet for the region, however, there were several notable events. In late April, a costly and destructive EF3 tornado touched down in Andover, Kansas destroying over 300 buildings. This well-documented tornado injured three people and caused almost $41.5 million dollars in damage. Several weeks later, a powerful derecho formed in Nebraska on May 12th. Straightline winds exceeded 100 mph (161 km/h) in places, wreaking havoc as it crossed into South Dakota. With the areas impacted having been dry, large amounts of dust were lofted which resulted in a haboob accompanying the derecho. Hailstorms were an issue for Nebraska in late May and into June. Several destructive storms impacted the state, with two towns in Buffalo County seeing 90 to 100 percent of homes significantly damaged. During this unsettled period, a 6-inch (152.4 mm) wide hailstone fell in the north-central part of the state. This was near the state record of 7 inches (177.8 mm) that fell in Aurora in 2003.
- The following locations had notable precipitation records during 2022:
- Norfolk, Nebraska had its driest year on record with only 13.27 inches (337.06 mm) of precipitation and recorded its lowest calendar year snowfall with 7.1 inches (180.34 mm) of snow.
- Lincoln, Nebraska reported their 2nd lowest calendar year snowfall with only 5.9 inches (149.86 mm) of snow.
- Dodge City, Kansas reported only Trace precipitation in October, tying 1952 and 1879 for the driest month on record.
- Grand Island, Nebraska recorded 0.01 inches (0.25 mm) of precipitation in February, which ties 1904 for the driest month on record.
- Russell Springs, Kansas reported its 4th highest calendar year snowfall with 40.1 inches (1018.54 mm), while also recording its 3rd driest year on record with 11.30 inches (287.02 mm) of measurable precipitation.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, overall drought coverage did not expand much but rather shifted and intensified. At the beginning of 2022, drought conditions were primarily in the western part of the region, compared to primarily in the eastern portions at the end of the year. Kansas and Nebraska were the two states that were most affected this year. After starting 2022 as already dry, western Kansas was offered little relief. Conditions remained arid in that part of the state throughout the entire year, while the southern part of the state rapidly dried up during the summer. The situation in southern Kansas worsened so quickly that towns were unprepared, which led to water shortages. At the end of the year, 56 percent of Kansas was under extreme drought to exceptional drought (D3-D4) conditions, and 37 percent of the state was in D4. Agriculture was significantly affected, with all crops well below their average yields. The effects will linger in 2023, with winter wheat conditions the worst in the past 20 years. The region is in poor shape heading into 2023, with much of Kansas and Nebraska reliant on late winter and springtime precipitation for agricultural production. With soil moisture near record lows in both states, any form of recharge is greatly needed in order to improve conditions. Overall, 69 percent of the High Plains was in moderate to exceptional drought (D1-D4) at the end of the year.
- Notable Weather
- The High Plains saw multiple severe weather events during 2022.
- Winds Across the Region: The wind seemed to be constantly blowing during the winter and into the spring. Combined with the lack of moisture, numerous impacts were reported. Wildfires were a serious problem in the spring, due to low snowfall in places and still dry from the year before. While dust storms were prevalent throughout the entire year, with several deaths attributed to them. Cattle were also severely impacted, with respiratory issues reported due to dust inhalation.
- December Arctic Outbreak: A vigorous and deadly cold front pushed through the region on December 21, bringing significant temperature drops. Combined with the ever-relentless winds, wind chills were –40 degrees F (-40 degrees C) for much of the region. Places dipped into wind chills within the –60 and –70 degrees F (-51.1 to 56.7 degrees C) range. While records would be hard to verify, many places likely reached their lowest wind chills ever observed.
- May 12 Derecho: A large and record-setting derecho formed in central Nebraska and moved into South Dakota. Due to the dry soils in Nebraska, large amounts of dust were lofted, creating a haboob on the edge of the derecho. A total of 32 tornadoes occurred with this event and nearly 1.3 billion dollars in damage. It is also notable for the number of significant wind gusts (75 mph or km/h) reported from one continuous storm. There was a total of 68 reports, which surpassed the previous record of 64 during the December 15, 2021, derecho in the central Plains.
- Drought in Kansas and Nebraska: Drought conditions rapidly deteriorated in both states after an arid winter and spring. Well-below-normal snowfall led to dry soils in the spring, which impacted planting. All crops were tremendously impacted, with drought-tolerant sorghum unable to form heads for harvest. Pasture conditions reached such poor levels that cattle herds were heavily culled. A heatwave in June reportedly led to the death of thousands of cattle in southwestern Kansas. Water resources became an issue over the summer, with irrigation use reduced by 25 percent in places and towns declaring water rationing.
- Wildfires: Numerous fires occurred across Kansas and Nebraska this year resulting from the drought. Several towns were evacuated due to the large and uncontrolled fires in the spring and fall. The dangerous fires led to several deaths in Nebraska.
- For more information, please visit the High Plains Regional Climate Center Home Page.
Southern Region (Information provided by the Southern Regional Climate Center)
The year 2022 was warm across the Southern Region, ranking 16th warmest out of 128 years of weather records. All states within the region were warmer than their recent 1991-2020 normal temperatures and their long-term 1895-2023 averages. Leading the way was Texas with 2022 being ranked 14th warmest, Oklahoma ranked 19th warmest, Mississippi ranked 21st warmest, Louisiana ranked 26th warmest, Tennessee ranked 40th warmest, and Arkansas ranked 43rd warmest. Early 2022 was generally cooler than normal except for the first few days of the year when 18 stations stretching from south Texas to eastern Tennessee set all time record high temperatures for January. Winter 2022, primarily due to a record warm December 2021, ended up with all six states in the Southern Region being well above average. Temperatures began to warm in March with all states being warmer than their long-term averages except for Louisiana. The first triple digit temperatures in the region occurred along the Rio Grande in Texas with Rio Grande Village reaching 103 F on March 30th. Warming continued into April in the western portions of the region, while the east ran slightly cooler than normal. On April 6th, two stations in Texas (Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and Falcon Lake) met or exceeded 110 F, tying the record for earliest occurrence of 110 F or higher temperatures in the United States set in 1989 at a few stations in southern California. May was the fourth warmest month on record for the Southern Region with Texas tying its second warmest May and Louisiana and Mississippi ranking sixth warmest on record. The warmth continued into June with all states ranked in the top 25 warmest on record and the Southern Region as a whole ranking 10th. Texas had its fifth warmest June while Louisiana and Mississippi ranked seventh. All six states in the region recorded triple digit temperatures during June with the warmest being 117 F at Rio Grande Village, Texas, which was 3 F shy of the all-time temperature record for the state of Texas. The heat peaked in July across the region with the Southern Region recorded its second warmest July on record, with Texas recording its warmest July on record. All other states in the region were ranked in the top 10 for July. Gage and Clinton, Oklahoma and Follett, Texas. Regionwide, 428 daily maximum temperature records were broken in July, as were 763 daily highest minimum temperature records. August saw a return to near normal temperatures across much of the region, starting out warm but finishing mild. Overall, the summer 2022 was the 3rd warmest on record for the Southern Region, only behind 2011 and 1934. Texas had its second warmest summer on record and Louisiana had its fifth warmest. September was relatively warm across the Southern Region, ranked 35th warmest on record. All states in the region recorded triple digit temperatures. Tennessee was the only state that was below normal for the month. October was cooler in the east of the region, with Tennessee recording its 21st coldest October, Louisiana and Mississippi ranked 36th and 37th coldest. Homer, Louisiana recorded an all-time record low for October with 25 F on October 19th. November was near-normal across much of the region, no stations reported triple digit temperatures. Five long-term stations set monthly records for daily maximum temperature. December was warmer than normal across the southern portions of the region and near to cooler than normal across the north. Despite this, an outbreak of Arctic air in late December led to very cold temperatures across the region, with 136 stations reporting daily low temperatures below 0 F. Louisiana was the only state in the region to have no stations below 0 F. Five-long term stations set monthly records for daily minimum temperature, one in Tennessee and four in Texas.
Total precipitation for the year ranged from 13th driest in Texas (21.21 inches) to 46th wettest in Tennessee (54.56 inches). The Southern Region as a whole recorded its 37th driest (34.53 inches) year on record. No long-term stations in the region set records for their all-time wettest calendar year. Three long-term stations in Texas recorded their driest calendar year on record in 2022: Gruver (8.81 inches), San Antonio International Airport (11.51 inches), and Waco Dam (22.09 inches). January was wet in Tennessee and Arkansas was close to normal, while the rest of the region was on the dry side. All six states reported snow accumulations. February saw more varied precipitation with Texas and Louisiana being relatively dry. Tennessee recorded its 10th wettest February, with five stations reporting more than a foot of rain. Additionally, two stations in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas reported more than a foot of snowfall. March saw relatively dry conditions in Tennessee and Texas and wetter conditions across the rest of the region. Texas had 52 stations that reported no measurable precipitation for the month. Two snow events occurred across the region in March, and an event in the Texas Panhandle on March 22nd and across Tennessee on March 12th. April saw relatively wet conditions in the east of the region and drier conditions in the west. Five stations in Arkansas and three in Mississippi recorded over 10 inches of rain for the month of April. In the Texas Trans Pecos climate division only four out of 27 stations reported measurable precipitation. Precipitation in May was close to normal across much of the region, besides Texas which saw its 25th driest May. Except for Texas, at least one station in every state reported more than 10 inches of rain for the Month. June saw dry conditions across much of the region, averaging 2.20 inches, a full 1.65 inches below normal. At least forty stations, all in Texas, reported no measurable precipitation. Dry conditions persisted in the west of the region in July, with Texas recording its fifth driest on record and Oklahoma its 24th driest. In the east Tennessee saw its 32nd wettest July. Only Oklahoma failed to have at least one station reporting with more than 10 inches of precipitation for the month. In Texas, 176 stations reported no measurable precipitation. In August wet conditions returned to much of the region with all states well above their historical medians, besides Oklahoma (41st driest) in August. The majority of stations in Louisiana and Mississippi recorded over 10 inches of precipitation, as did 77 stations in Texas and two in Tennessee. September saw dry conditions in all six states across the Southern Region. The Southern Region as a whole averaged less than 50 percent of normal precipitation for September. A total of nine stations in Arkansas, seven in Texas, and two in Oklahoma received no measurable precipitation. Dry conditions persisted into October with every state reporting below normal precipitation for the month. Six stations in Texas and one in Louisiana reported no measurable precipitation. Wet conditions returned during November, with only Tennessee and Arkansas being slightly below normal. Two stations in Texas and one in Mississippi reported more than a foot of precipitation. One long-term station: Baldwyn, Mississippi set a daily November accumulation record with 5.25 inches. In December the Southern Region as a whole finished out the year with slightly below normal precipitation for the month. Louisiana was substantially wetter than other states in the region (ranked 24th wettest). Seven stations reported more than 13 inches of rain in December, while five stations reported no measurable precipitation.
In the first week of 2022, about 62 percent of the Southern Region was in drought, including 15 percent in extreme drought. During early 2022, the extreme drought was primarily in western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, portions of west Texas, and northeastern Louisiana. Through the winter and into early spring the drought began to spread eastward into western Mississippi with exceptional drought appearing in the Oklahoma Panhandle, while northern Arkansas, eastern Mississippi, southeast Texas, and all of Tennessee were drought free. By April 5 extreme drought had increased to 27 percent and exceptional to 6 percent, mostly in central and west Texas, the Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma, and southern Louisiana. Conditions at this time had improved somewhat in northern Louisiana, southern Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and western Mississippi. In areas affected by drought conditions, establishment of warm-seasonal crops was challenging to impossible and winter wheat remained in very poor condition. Through May and into early June drought conditions had generally improved in the eastern portions of the region that had been affected and extreme and exceptional drought was largely confined to central and western Texas, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and isolated areas of the Louisiana and Texas coasts. In affected areas, farming and ranching continued to be impacted and concerns over water supplies began to emerge. Through June and July conditions continued to degrade across the region with drought once again expanding east into Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and western Tennessee. Extreme and exceptional drought as of August second, was largely confined to southern Oklahoma and Texas. Texas was particularly hard hit during June and July with drought expanding to cover 97 percent of the state as of August second with about 61 percent of that being extreme and about 21 percent being exceptional. Across Texas and Oklahoma especially, livestock sales were much larger than usual, agricultural yields were reduced, and in Texas many water suppliers were restricting use. South Texas was particularly hard hit in terms of water supplies, where the Falcon Reservoir along the Rio Grande had dropped below 10 percent of its 2.6 million acre feet capacity. Midway through August ample rainfall across much of the region had improved drought conditions, though Oklahoma missed out on these rains and about 50 percent of the state was still in extreme drought as of September sixth. The August rains benefited agricultural producers, ranchers, and most water suppliers in the areas receiving them. Well below normal precipitation across the Southern Region during September and October led to drought degradation across much of the region, somewhat erasing improvements seen during August. Primary impacts included lack of forage growth, crop failure or yield reductions in maturing crops, and lack of water for cattle in some locations. The dry conditions within the Southern Region and in the Upper Mississippi River Basin led to record low water levels and flows on the Mississippi River in October, snarling barge traffic and increasing shipping prices. During November and December drought conditions generally improved across much of the region, while drought persisted in central/western Oklahoma and western Texas, with much of central and western Oklahoma remaining in extreme or exceptional drought.
- Notable Weather
Across the Southern Region, there were 494 tornado reports, 1,050 hail reports, and 2,516 severe wind reports, according to NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center. One of the most notable features of 2022 was the lack of tropical cyclone impacts across the Southern Region. No named storms made landfall in the region and only extreme eastern Tennessee saw impacts from tropical cyclones in the form of rainfall during September. In total, there were 166 injuries and 14 fatalities associated with severe weather during the 2022 calendar year. During January the new year began with an EF1 tornado that cut across southern Tennessee during an outbreak of severe weather on January first through second. Another outbreak on January eight and ninth spawned several tornadoes, including an EF2 that destroyed several homes in west-central Louisiana. On February third an ice storm stretching from Texas to Tennessee shut down travel and transportation across the region. In Memphis, Tennessee ice accumulation caused over 100,000 to lose power. Two fatalities were associated with the storm. An outbreak of tornadoes on March 21st-22nd across Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana spawned 66 tornadoes, injuring a total of 64 injuries and two fatalities. One fatality resulted from an EF2 tornado near Lake Texoma along the Texas-Oklahoma border. Another fatality resulted from an EF3 tornado that struck New Orleans, Louisiana. Another outbreak of tornadoes on March 30th-31st spawned tornadoes in all six states of the Southern Region. During late March there was also substantial wildfire activity across portions of Texas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. One firefighter in Texas and another in Oklahoma lost their lives fighting these fires. The largest diameter hailstone recorded fell on April 13th near Salado, Texas and measured 5.6 inches in diameter. In April, there was also a total of 397 severe wind reports, from these two fatalities were reported in Arkansas. On June 10th flash flooding, associated with heavy rains, damaged close to 100 homes in west-central Arkansas. On August 21st-22nd, extremely heavy rains fell in Dallas, Texas resulting in flooding that damaged thousands of cars and over 1,000 homes. During October there were 87 severe wind reports, most notably a 30-mile-long downburst south of Memphis Tennessee which caused one fatality. After several quiet months in terms of tornadoes, November saw 42 tornadoes during the month. Most of which occurred in two outbreaks. Over November fourth through fifth there were 28 tornadoes across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. During this outbreak, an EF3 tornado near Pickens, Oklahoma caused one injury and one fatality and an EF3 tornado near Daingerfield, Texas caused eight injuries and one fatality. The second November outbreak occurred from November 29th-30th with 12 reported tornadoes. December also saw substantial tornado activity with an outbreak from December 13-14th across the region impacting Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi totaling 55 tornadoes reported, resulting in 55 injuries and three fatalities. Two fatalities were associated with an EF2 tornado near Four Forks, Louisiana and one fatality was associated with an EF2 near Norco, Louisiana.
- For more information, please visit the Southern Regional Climate Center Home Page.
Western Region (Information provided by the Western Region Climate Center)
Calendar year 2022 brought generally dry conditions across the western U.S., with warmer than normal conditions to the south and colder than normal conditions to the north. A notably dry start to 2022 led to substantially drier than normal conditions in California, southern Oregon, and western Nevada. Active weather during the summer monsoon and several fall storms brought welcome precipitation to Arizona and New Mexico. Many extreme events occurred throughout the western U.S., with extreme drought, precipitation, and other high-impact weather events, such as a landfalling typhoon in Alaska, record flooding in Yellowstone National Park, and extreme September heat wave across the far western U.S., making for yet another interesting year. Drought conditions improved somewhat from 2021, thanks to a near-normal snowpack and well-timed early and late season precipitation events. However, widespread drought continues with extreme to exceptional drought persisting in many western States and many major reservoirs ended the year at low to near-record low levels.
Calendar year 2022 temperatures were generally consistent with La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean with a warmer south/colder north pattern. Much warmer than normal temperatures occurred in California but also along the western portions of Oregon and Washington as well as throughout much of Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Colder than normal conditions occurred in the interior northern Intermountain West region, with localized cold pockets in eastern Oregon, northeastern Nevada and Idaho, central Montana, and northern central Wyoming. Cooler than normal conditions were also observed in southeastern Arizona and central and southern New Mexico. Hoquiam, Washington observed its 6th warmest year on record in 68 years of records with a mean temperature of 52.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1.7 degrees Fahrenheit above normal). In 83 years of record-keeping, Red Bluff, California experienced its 4th warmest year with a mean temperature of 65.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. With 86 years of records, Columbus, Montana observed its 8th coldest year on record with a mean temperature of 43.9 degrees Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal). However, some areas of the southern tier also observed colder than normal conditions. For example, 2022 was tied for 10th coldest in Bagdad, Arizona, where record-keeping began 81 years ago, with a mean temperature of 60.8 degrees Fahrenheit (0.3 degrees Fahrenheit above normal).
With a few wetter-than-normal exceptions, precipitation was broadly slightly-below to well-below normal in the western U.S. during calendar year 2022. The driest regions included California, Nevada, and Utah but also southern Oregon and Idaho as well as eastern Wyoming and New Mexico. Dry conditions also occurred across Washington and Montana. An active monsoon season and several fall storms brought wetter than normal conditions to western New Mexico and eastern Arizona. Southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon, as well as parts of southcentral Montana and central Wyoming also observed above normal precipitation for the year. North Bend, Oregon observed 40.75 inches of precipitation, which is 18.4 inches below normal, making 2022 the fourth driest year on record since records began in 1881. With 88 years of observations, Salinas, California recorded its seventh driest year on record with 6.8 inches of precipitation (5.8 inches below normal). 2022 was the sixth driest year in 84 years of records in Orovada, Nevada, where 6.7 inches of precipitation (3.5 inches below normal) was measured. Lewiston, Idaho recorded 15.7 inches of precipitation (2.8 inches above normal) in 2022 leading to its 8th wettest year since 1948. Mystic Lake, Montana received 31.8 inches of precipitation (5.2 inches above normal) making for its 6th wettest year on record. 2022 was the second wettest year in 57 years in Gila, New Mexico, where 23.5 inches of precipitation was measured (8.3 inches above normal).
Peak 2022 snowpack (which typically occurs between March and May) in the western U.S. was generally near the 1991-2020 normals, with a slight shift towards below-normal. The Pacific Northwest and northern Intermountain West had several stations with peaks that were well-above normal while several regions in California, southern Oregon, and Arizona had well-below normal peak snowpacks. The lowest regional peak snowpacks occurred across the southern tier of the west including California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico.
Despite near-average snowpack in the Colorado River Basin, severe drought conditions continued with declining reservoir levels and low streamflows. Anomalously warm temperatures increased evapotranspiration rates that lower soil moisture and reduce runoff efficiencies, leading to declines in water availability. Drought conditions varied across scales during the year in concert with precipitation and temperature variability, but overall at the end of 2022, the western U.S. demonstrated less area in drought (87 percent compared to 96 percent at the end of 2021) and notably, less area in extreme to exceptional drought (39 percent compared to 65 percent). Extreme to exceptional drought remains in California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Colorado, and New Mexico.
- Alaska Summary
Calendar year 2022 brought widespread extreme conditions across Alaska, with dry, wet and snowy spells as well as anomalously cold and hot temperatures. Several locations in Alaska set all-time precipitation records. In 81 years of records, Juneau had its wettest year on record, measuring a whopping 88.3 inches of precipitation (21.3 inches above normal). With a mean temperature of 43.1 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees above normal), Juneau tied its tenth warmest year on record. In Barrow, Alaska, where records began in 1901, 2022 brought the third wettest year on record with 8.5 inches of precipitation (3.2 inches above normal). It was also the sixth warmest year on record in Barrow, where the mean temperature was 15.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal). Anchorage also observed its wettest year in 71 years of records, measuring 28.6 inches of precipitation (12.2 inches above normal). With a mean temperature of 39.3 degrees (1.6 degrees above normal), 2022 was the seventh warmest year on record in Anchorage. Anchorage ended on a snowy note, however, with over 41 inches of precipitation over an 11-day period in December, nearly breaking the record set in 1955.
- Hawaii Summary
2022 was a dry year in Hawaii, with many stations observing a top-10 driest year on record. Warmer than average temperatures in tandem with dry conditions helped create widespread drought conditions that worsened throughout 2022. At the start of 2022, only 2 percent of Hawaii was in some form of drought but by the end of 2022, nearly 40 percent of Hawaii was experiencing drought conditions. On the island of Oahu, Kahuku, Hawaii observed its second driest year in 61 years of records with 21.5 inches of precipitation (11.1 inches below normal). Kahuku experienced its second warmest year on record with a mean temperature of 77 degrees Fahrenheit (1.9 degrees above average). Kahului, on Maui, observed its second driest year in 67 years of observations, measuring 6.7 inches of rainfall (9.5 inches below normal). Kahuilui also observed its second driest year on record with a mean temperature of 79.9 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Fahrenheit above normal). On the island of Kauai, Lihui recorded 24 inches of rainfall (12.2 inches below normal), making 2022 its ninth driest year on record.
- Notable Weather
- The West saw multiple severe weather events during 2022.
- Record Wet January in Southeast Alaska Leads to State of Emergency: Heavy snowfall followed by rainfall in southeastern Alaska resulted in officials declaring a state of emergency in response to numerous impacts. In addition to typical flood impacts, buildings were collapsing beneath the weight of water-laden snow on roofs throughout the region, Juneau schools were cancelled due to unsafe street conditions, and water supply infrastructure in Klawock was damaged. Rain-on-snow loading combined with a weak snowpack structure promoted widespread avalanche activity in Southeast Mountains throughout the month. Emergency responses have been hampered by poor road conditions and avalanche hazard.
- Low snowpack in Northern Rockies intensifies drought: Many SNOTEL stations and snow courses in northwest Wyoming and southwest Montana reported record low or second lowest snow water equivalent values (about 30-60 years of record for these sites) at the end of February. This area is currently in severe to extreme drought and the low snowpack will act to continue drought degradations going into the spring runoff season unless a shift to a major wet pattern occurs over the next few months.
- Early season wildfire in the Front Range of Colorado: The NCAR fire ignited on March 26 in the foothills just south of Boulder, Colorado. The fire burned nearly 200 acres and forced evacuations of nearly 20,000 people and 8,000 homes. Gusty winds fueled rapid spread for a short time when the fire first ignited and snow remaining on the ground played a factor in helping to reduce and stall the spread of the fire.
- Major snowpack gains in northern tier of West, but not enough to turn the tide of drought: Despite the 5-10 inches of liquid water gains in snowpack through the month of April, peak snowpack values remained below to well-below average for many locations. This highlights a limitation of the use of percent of average. During spring, when snowpack is melting, relatively small gains (or slowing of melt) can drive percent of average values up to exceed 100% of normal but obscuring the fact that peak snowpack was near, or in many cases, well-below average. April storms did bring locations throughout the northern tier of the West to their water year peak with active weather moderating melt rates and prolonging the winter season via precipitation and by limiting solar radiation and hot temperatures. Nonetheless, expectations of drought conditions remain, especially in the southern tier of the West, but throughout the region, due to below-average peak snowpack.
- Active spring wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico: Dry fuels amidst prolonged drought and unfavorable fire weather (hot, dry, and windy) have created conditions conducive for wildfire ignition and spread. Several large fires ignited in both Arizona and New Mexico burning over 200,000 acres and destroying property and prompting evacuations of numerous communities in both states.
- Wildfire in New Mexico becomes largest in state history: The Calf Canyon and Hermits Peak fires both ignited in April in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northern New Mexico. Both fires remained active in May due to persistent hot, dry, and windy conditions and merged into one fire in mid-May that has grown to over 300,000 acres in size and became the largest fire in New Mexico history. Over 700 structures have been destroyed and thousands of residents have been evacuated from their homes. At the end of May the fire was about 50 percent contained.
- Historic Flooding in Yellowstone National Park on June 10-13: An inland penetrating atmospheric river with near-record moisture content and moisture transport combined with atmospheric instability to produce heavy precipitation in southern central Montana and northwestern Wyoming between June 10-13. Multiday precipitation totals ranged from 1 inch to over 5 inches in the Beartooth and Absaroka Mountains. With rapid snowmelt ongoing before the storm event, streams and rivers were already running near nuisance flood stage and soils were saturated. Heavy precipitation combined with additional snowmelt to overtop river and streambanks, producing damaging floods destroying roads, bridges, and impacted homes and businesses in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding communities such as Red Lodge. The Yellowstone River surpassed its previous period-of-record river stage, set in 1918, and a drinking water facility serving the city of Billings was forced to shut down operations for a period of time. Evacuations, power outages, and boil water advisories were issued throughout the region.
- California campground to close for summer due to drought: Portola Redwood State Park campground, just west of San Jose, California, will be closing in early August for the rest of the summer due to low streamflows in Peters Creek, the main water source for the campground. Similar closures were put into place in the recent drought years of 2014, 2015, and 2021.
- Death Valley Record Rainfall and Flooding: On August 5, 1.7 inches (43.2 millimeters) of rain from a thunderstorm fueled by monsoonal moisture fell at Death Valley National Park, California making it the rainiest day in the site’s history. The storm caused flash flooding, a 1,000 year flood event, that stranded nearly 500 park visitors and 500 staff. Many roads into and out of the park remained closed for weeks after the event.
- Typhoon Merbak Innundates Coastal Alaska: On September 17, 2022, ex-typhoon Merbok brought massive waves, heavy rainfall, and extreme storm surge to western Alaska leading to coastal flooding and erosion. Many roads were damaged and vulnerable communities impacted by record high water that led to flood damaging homes, infrastructure, and cultural resources.
- Exceptional California Heat Wave: An extended heat wave (upwards of 10 days) peaked with all-time daily records in California across the state on September 6, 2022 that broke previous all-time highs (many set the day prior) posing an energy crisis and exposing millions of people to extreme and persistent heat. High temperatures peaked between 115-117 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat and Air Pollution Engulf Pacific Northwest: From October 14-October 21, an amplified ridge of high pressure resulted in well-above average temperatures, with several stations setting October high temperature records. Ongoing drought and hotter and drier than normal weather created favorable fire weather conditions. Numerous wildfires produced plentiful smoke, the dispersion of which was greatly limited by the calm winds and stable atmosphere beneath the ridge. As a result, a period of prolonged hot and polluted air (Air Quality Index values exceeding 400) engulfed many cities in the Pacific Northwest. Impacts from heat and air pollution are difficult to immediately quantify, but it is likely this event will drive an increase in hospitalizations, decrease in general health and well-being (especially among disadvantaged community members), and lowered economic activity in the region.
- December 29-31 Sierra Nevada Rain-on-Snow: The first major rain-on-snow event since 2017 occurred in the Sierra Nevada with a warm and wet storm bringing 8-12 inches of precipitation and snow levels above nearly all mountain top elevations. This event produced flooding and primed soils and snowpack to produce runoff should later warm, sunny, and/or rain events occur.
- For more information, please go to the Western Regional Climate Center Home Page.