DISASTERS

Forecasters worry about worsening western drought, moderate eastern flooding after wild winter

The nation's wild Jekyll-Hyde winter will likely dictate what weather worries Americans have this spring.

Federal meteorologists forecast that the record hot and dry winter in the West will likely worsen the drought problems for California and its neighbors. And the record snowfall in New England and parts of the Northeast have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on guard for moderate flooding this spring with snow that will eventually melt.

Jon Gottschalck, branch chief at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said the California drought, now in its fourth year, will be a bigger problem than increased flooding risk forecast for the East and Missouri Valley.

NOAA predicts a spring that's wetter than normal in most of the South and unusually warm for much of the West.