The spring seasonal outlook was released by NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) on Thursday, which covers the long-range outlook from April 1 through June 30. If you’re hoping for the warmth, then this outlook will feature good news for most of you, but unfortunately there are some negatives that apply to this forecast that we’ll discuss.
Temperatures for most of the country are expected to be above normal overall during the spring season. Based on the map below, which highlights the probabilities for above and below average temperatures from NOAA, the darker shadings represent a higher chance for either above or below average conditions. That chance spans from the Northeast and Great Lakes, through the Southeast, and all the way through to the Southwest. The best chance for the warmth is across the Southwest, Southern Plains, and Gulf Coast. Meanwhile to the north and west, there is a small area that is forecast to experience below average temperatures. That chance includes much of Montana as well as portions of Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Portions of the Northwest into the Northern Plains don’t have much of a signal leaning toward either above or below average temperatures, so there is an equal chance for one of those two conditions to occur.
Of course periods of colder than normal temperatures are expected to occur in the areas that are forecast to have a warmer than normal spring and the same applies to where a cooler than normal spring is forecast, but that is typical because it’s weather. What is forecast above is climate because of the overall conditions for an extended period. Weather is what happens in a short time frame.
According to NOAA, a wetter than normal spring can be expected across the Northern Tier of the US, from the interior Northwest through the Midwest, Great Lakes, and into the Northeast. From most of the West Coast, through the Southwest, and into the Southern Plains, a drier than normal season is forecast. All of the other areas have an equal chance for a wet or dry spring based on the weak atmospheric signals among the modeling.
This is not good news in terms of the drought, because a significant drought continues to impact the Southwest and Southern Plains due to a dry winter. There is even an exceptional drought affecting portions of the Texas Panhandle. Based on this outlook, the drought will only worsen and more areas are expected to go into a drought while the drought improves or ends in the Northern Plains due to the wetter weather forecast.
NOAA also released their spring flood outlook, which paints bad news for areas that already experienced significant flooding earlier this year. Flooding is expected through the Mississippi Valley as well as in portions of the Northwest. The worst flooding, where moderate flooding is possible, includes the Quad Cities region, the Kansas City area, the western Ohio Valley, the ArkLaTex, and the Lower-Mississippi River Valley, based no the graphic below.
Keep in mind that “these maps reflect places where the “background” climate conditions—such as a wet winter and saturated soils—create an enhanced risk of flooding throughout the season. Flash flooding can still occur anywhere in response to extreme weather.”