Expect a Warm, Wet Spring Across the US

Cherry blossoms spring to life around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C.
Cherry blossoms spring to life around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. (Image credit: Sean Pavone/Shutterstock)

Spring is likely to bring weather that's warmer and wetter than usual to much of the U.S., especially in the mid-Atlantic region and the Northeast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

However, areas plagued by recent drought — such as California, Oregon, southern Alaska and much of the Southwest — will see little relief, NOAA scientists reported during a teleconference March 15. In that broadcast, the agency shared its U.S. Spring Outlook for 2018, for the months of April through June.

What are the various weather conditions — and hazards — that the U.S. can expect as spring approaches? [The Four Seasons | What Causes Seasons?]

Areas of the United States where the average temperature for spring 2018 is favored to be in the upper (reddish colors) or lower (blue colors) third of the seasonal temperature record, from 1981 to 2010: Color intensity indicates higher or lower chances for a warm or a cool outcome. (Image credit: NOAA)

Widespread above-average temperatures are anticipated across two-thirds of the southern U.S. — from California into the Northeast — and the northern Rockies are shaping up to be the only region with below-average temperatures. Meanwhile, Texas and the Gulf Coast are the areas most likely to experience warmer-than-average weather, the scientists reported. 

Much of the northern U.S. can expect spring to be not only warmer but also wetter than average, from the Northeast coast to the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes region. But the South and West will have less moisture than usual, which could worsen drought conditions in some areas. Currently, over 25 percent of the U.S. is experiencing drought. And lower-than-average rainfall — combined with warmer temperatures —means that drought is likely to persist and even worsen in Southern California, the Southwest, parts of the Southeast and the High Plains, according to the report.

Places where the 2018 forecast favors well-above-normal (green) or well-below-normal (brown) spring precipitation. Color intensity indicates higher or lower probability for wet or dry conditions. (Image credit: NOAA)

However, the likelihood of more rainfall in the lower Missouri Valley and the Northern Plains should somewhat alleviate those areas' current drought, NOAA researchers said.

The wetter conditions will also bring flooding to regions that have already undergone record floods due to heavy winter rainfall, such as the lower Great Lakes region, the Ohio River Valley and parts of the Mississippi Valley.

Original article on Live Science.

Mindy Weisberger
Live Science Contributor

Mindy Weisberger is an editor at Scholastic and a former Live Science channel editor and senior writer. She has reported on general science, covering climate change, paleontology, biology, and space. Mindy studied film at Columbia University; prior to Live Science she produced, wrote and directed media for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Her videos about dinosaurs, astrophysics, biodiversity and evolution appear in museums and science centers worldwide, earning awards such as the CINE Golden Eagle and the Communicator Award of Excellence. Her writing has also appeared in Scientific American, The Washington Post and How It Works Magazine.