After a long and difficult winter — including at least two polar vortexes and extreme California drought — we have been reassured that warmth will come again. For some of us.
Today is the first day of spring and the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just released its spring weather outlook. It’s not all wildflowers and sunny days, though.
The outlook shows persistent drought for states in the southwest, moderate flood warnings for the Midwest, and continued chill from the Northern Rockies to the Great Lakes.
Flood and drought
Brutal winters in much of the U.S. mean more snow pack and still-frozen streams. This results in more water during spring melt runoff and higher flood risks. While no area is at great flood risk this year, minor to moderate warnings were issued to several parts of the U.S. in the map below.
Elevated flood risks have been predicted for the Northern Plains and Midwest.
“The continuation of winter weather,” will delay spring flooding until April in New England and the upper Midwest. The intensity will depend on the rate of snow melt and upcoming rainfall.
California, experienced one of its warmest and driest winters in the last 120 years. Much of the state, as well as northeastern Nevada, is in the highest category levels of drought. With the unremarkable rainy season behind, drought is expected to continue.
While not as extreme, drought conditions are also in play in the Southwest, lower Pacific Northwest, and areas of the Great Plains. Drought will continue in most of those areas and is predicted to spread into Texas.
In the upper Pacific Northwest and parts of the Midwest drought is predicted to ease over the spring.
As seen in the map below, a greater chance of warmer than usual temperatures will radiate out of California, into the southwest and the northwest. The Northern Rockies to the Great Lakes are likely to see a prolonging of this winter’s chilly temperatures.
Unfortunately for the East coast, we’ll just have to wait. The white means that there are equal chances of the temperature being above, below, or near normal.
Indicators of precipitation for most of the U.S. were weak, so we don’t really know what to expect. However, NOAA was able to say that the western states are likely to see below average precipitation and that Hawaii will experience slightly greater than average.
Check out the NOAA Spring Outlook video for more details: