Departure from normal precipitation (inches)

Less than normal

More than normal

0

-30

-20

-10

10

20

30

Departure from

normal precipitation (inches)

-15

0

15

-30

30

Boston

New York

Miami

D.C.

NORTH

Atlanta

Chicago

Houston

Minneapolis

Dallas

Denver

Seattle

Los Angeles

Seattle

Boston

Minneapolis

Detroit

New York

Chicago

San Francisco

D.C.

Denver

Las Vegas

Phoenix

Los Angeles

Atlanta

Dallas

Houston

Miami

Seattle

Minneapolis

Boston

Detroit

New York

Chicago

San Francisco

D.C.

Denver

Las Vegas

Nashville

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Atlanta

Dallas

Hurricane Matthew

related flooding.

Houston

Continued drought conditions in California

Super rains cause historic flooding

Extreme drought conditions in the Atlanta region.

Miami

Seattle

Wash.

Maine

Mont.

N.D.

Minn.

Vt.

Ore.

N.H.

Minneapolis

Boston

Idaho

N.Y.

S.D.

Wis.

Mass.

Mich.

Conn.

Wyo.

R.I.

Detroit

New York

Pa.

Iowa

Chicago

N.J.

Neb.

Nev.

San Francisco

Md.

Ohio

Del.

Utah

Ind.

Ill.

D.C.

Denver

W.Va.

Va.

Colo.

Mo.

Kan.

Las Vegas

Ky.

Calif.

N.C.

Nashville

Ariz.

Tenn.

Los Angeles

Okla.

Ark.

S.C.

Atlanta

N.M.

Phoenix

Dallas

Ala.

Miss.

Ga.

Hurricane Matthew

related flooding.

Tex.

La.

Continued drought conditions in California

Houston

Fla.

Super rains cause historic flooding

Extreme drought conditions in the Atlanta region.

Miami

Seattle

Wash.

Maine

Mont.

N.D.

Vt.

Minn.

Ore.

N.H.

Minneapolis

Wis.

Idaho

Boston

N.Y.

S.D.

Mass.

Mich.

Wyo.

Conn.

R.I.

Detroit

New York

Pa.

Chicago

Iowa

Nev.

Neb.

N.J.

Ohio

San Francisco

Md.

Del.

Utah

Ind.

Denver

Ill.

D.C.

W.Va.

Calif.

Colo.

Va.

Mo.

Kan.

Ky.

Las Vegas

N.C.

Nashville

Ariz.

Tenn.

Okla.

Los Angeles

Ark.

S.C.

N.M.

Phoenix

Atlanta

Ala.

Hurricane Matthew

related flooding.

Miss.

Tex.

Dallas

Ga.

Continued drought conditions in California

La.

Houston

Fla.

Super rains cause historic flooding

Extreme drought conditions in the Atlanta region.

Miami

Weather over the past year was extreme. It ranged from a historic blizzard to record-breaking heat. At times, it was deadly. This map explains nearly all of it: rain and drought — the yin and yang of U.S. weather in 2016.

Even with a very strong El Niño, the vast majority of the West ended the year with below-average precipitation. In the Deep South, flash flooding threatened lives and property over and over. In the Southeast, an epic drought fueled deadly wildfires.

Flooding

2016 may come to be known as the “year of the flood.” From spring to fall, Mother Nature unleashed multiple historic rainfall events from the Deep South to the Mid-Atlantic.

After devastating rains the previous year, Houston was again hit by extreme flooding in April 2016. The National Weather Service at one point called it “the worst case scenario.”

Nearly 20 inches of rain fell in the Houston area over the course of 48 hours. At least eight people died in the flood, which locals say was the worst since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001. Entire roads washed away, more than 1,000 homes and businesses were damaged, and emergency officials heroically performed nearly 2,000 high-water rescues.

Inches of precipitation

above monthly average

0

10

20

30

April

Waco

TEXAS

Lufkin

Austin

Houston

Katy

Gulf of

Mexico

Corpus Christi

June

PENNSYLVANIA

OHIO

WEST

VIRGINIA

Charleston

Beckley

Greenbrier resort

VIRGINIA

August

LOUISIANA

MISSISSIPPI

Baton Rouge

Lafayette

New Orleans

Gulf of

Mexico

October

Norfolk

VIRGINIA

Raleigh

NORTH

CAROLINA

Fayetteville

Wilmington

SOUTH

CAROLINA

Myrtle Beach

Atlantic

Ocean

Inches of precipitation above monthly average

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

April

June

PENNSYLVANIA

Waco

OHIO

TEXAS

Lufkin

WEST

VIRGINIA

Austin

Charleston

Houston

Katy

Beckley

Greenbrier resort

VIRGINIA

Gulf of

Mexico

Corpus Christi

August

October

Norfolk

VIRGINIA

LOUISIANA

Raleigh

NORTH

CAROLINA

MISSISSIPPI

Fayetteville

Baton Rouge

Wilmington

Lafayette

SOUTH

CAROLINA

New Orleans

Myrtle Beach

Gulf of

Mexico

Atlantic

Ocean

Inches of precipitation above average

0

5

10

15

20

25

30

April

June

August

October

Norfolk

PENNSYLVANIA

VIRGINIA

Waco

LOUISIANA

OHIO

TEXAS

Lufkin

Raleigh

WEST

VIRGINIA

NORTH

CAROLINA

MISSISSIPPI

Austin

Charleston

Fayetteville

Houston

Baton Rouge

Katy

Beckley

Greenbriar resort

Wilmington

Lafayette

SOUTH

CAROLINA

New Orleans

VIRGINIA

Gulf of

Mexico

Myrtle Beach

Gulf of

Mexico

Atlantic

Ocean

Corpus Christi

Between Aug. 10 and 17, nearly 30 inches of rain fell in parts of Louisiana. Some of the worst flooding occurred around Lafayette and Baton Rouge. The $10 billion disaster claimed at least 13 lives and destroyed more than 50,000 homes, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The rain resulted from a slow-moving area of tropical low pressure that drew record-setting amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over Louisiana. It produced three times as much rain as Hurricane Katrina, and was the worst flood disaster in the U.S. since Superstorm Sandy.

In June, 23 people were killed by flash flooding in West Virginia after 10 inches of rain fell over the course of 12 hours. Rivers crested at all-time highs as water surged down the mountainous drainage basins. Greenbrier County was devastated by the flooding, and County Sheriff Jan Cahill described the scene as “complete chaos.”

To end the year of flooding, Hurricane Matthew swept up the Southeast Coast and poured 18 inches of rain on parts of North and South Carolina in early October. Rivers crested at levels not seen since Hurricane Floyd in 1999, and nearly 30 people died as a result of the multi-day floods.

In Robeson County, N.C., children did not return to school until Oct. 31 — more than 20 days after Hurricane Matthew struck the region.

Billy Blazier, Randy Diez Jr. and Tray Blazier check in on Billy's flooded home on August 18, 2016 in Sorrento, Louisiana. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The West Virginia State Highway 4 along the Elk River shows extensive damage after flood water dropped in Clendenin, West Virginia. (West Virginia Department of Transportation)

Drought and wildfires

 Where it wasn’t raining, drought was festering.

California continued its extreme drought for the fifth year. Hopes for drenching El Niño rains never came to fruition, and record autumn heat parched the ground even more. In addition to furthering the Golden State’s water crisis, it fueled nearly 7,000 wildfires which charred over 550,000 acres.

Drought

Severe

Extreme

Exceptional

Wildfire locations

Boston

New York

D.C.

Miami

Atlanta

Detroit

Chicago

Minneapolis

Dallas

Houston

Denver

Phoenix

Las Vegas

Seattle

Los Angeles

Drought

Severe

Extreme

Exceptional

Wildfire locations

Seattle

Minneapolis

Boston

Detroit

New York

Chicago

D.C.

Denver

Las Vegas

Los Angeles

Phoenix

Atlanta

Dallas

Houston

Miami

The Soberanes Fire in Monterey County, Calif., cost over $200 million to fight and was the costliest on record, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Ignited by an illegal campfire, the blaze would go on to burn 132,000 acres until it was contained in October.

Two men were killed while fighting the fire, KQED reported. It also reportedly killed the largest-known Pacific madrone tree in the United States.

Embers from a wildfire smolder along Lytle Creek Road near Keenbrook, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2016. (Noah Berger/AP)

Trevor Cates, walks through the smoldering remains of the fellowship hall of his church, the Banner Missionary Baptist Church as he inspects damage after a wildfire November 29, 2016 in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

With drought growing in the Southeast, wildfires were sparked from Alabama to North Carolina, many of which are suspected to be the result of arson. The most significant was the wildfire that swept into Gatlinburg, Tenn., in the dark of night. Without warning, residents were forced to flee their homes amid smoke and flames. The Knoxville News Sentinel reports 14 people were killed as a result of the fire and 191 were treated for fire-related injuries and smoke inhalation.

Approximately 2,500 structures were damaged or destroyed in the Tennessee fire, according to the Sentinel, which cost $8.8 million to fight.

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