The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Climate Prediction Center just released its 2015 Spring Outlook.
The lower Missouri and Ohio River basins, as well as the New England seaboard have a greater than 50% chance of their rivers reaching moderate flood stage. And California is likely in for some higher-than-usual temperatures, as well as continuing and expanding drought. The South and Southwest will probably see more rain than average this year, though that won’t end drought conditions in Arizona and Utah.
Lots of snow means potential floods in the East
If you live in the eastern Midwest, Northeast, or the South, chances are above 50% that you’ll experience minor flooding this spring, as NOAA’s map below shows.
The darker blue areas mean more moderate flooding, which might result in evacuations near rivers. Minor flooding can cover roads, but property damage is usually minimal.
Spring’s potential for moderate flooding in New England is thanks to this winter’s record-breaking snowfall and river ice. All that water has to go somewhere.
Rain for the South, but not for the places that need it
Spring may be soggy for most of the South: NOAA predicts heavier than average precipitation for that region, which could also add to potential flooding.
New Mexico, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas are looking at a probability between 40-50% that spring will bring more rain than average this year. The Southwest, Hawaii, and parts of Alaska (though the map below only shows the lower 48) will also likely get more rain.
NOAA predicts Minnesota and Wisconsin and parts of Washington and Oregon have up to a 50% chance of getting less precipitation than normal this year. For the rest of us, there’s just no way to know yet.
The west is heating up and drying out
As far as temperature, most of the country has a less than 33% chance of experiencing a warmer or colder than average spring (the white part of the map).
But things are looking steamy for the already drought-stricken western third of the country.
Probabilities are as high as 70% that spring on the West Coast will be warmer than average. NOAA predicts Alaska and Hawaii (not pictured on the map below) are likely to experience above-average temperatures as well.
Unless you live in eastern New Mexico or Texas, according to the NOAA forecast, spring won’t likely be colder than usual:
Hotter temperatures will exasperate already-exceptional drought in the West
More than 40% of the state of California is currently experiencing “exceptional drought,” according to NOAA, and drought conditions are expected to continue or get even worse for the entire state.
The Pacific Northwest and Southwest, plus the state of Minnesota, should also expect droughts to continue or get worse. NOAA predicts drought conditions will expand into the areas marked in yellow on the map below:
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