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National Weather Service spring outlook: warmer than normal for most


National Weather Service spring temperature outlook

While it’s colder in Washington, D.C. than parts of Greenland now, the National Weather Service suggests this unseasonably chilled pattern will reverse, and the spring will be a warm one.

“Above-normal temperatures this spring are most likely across most of the continental U.S. and northern Alaska,” the National Weather Service writes in its spring outlook issued today. “Below-normal temperatures are favored for the Pacific Northwest and extreme northern Great Plains.”

Precipitation is more of wild card, with NWS forecasting equal chances of above or below average precipitation over large parts of the U.S., including the Mid-Atlantic region.


National Weather Service spring precipitation outlook

“….odds favor wetter-than-normal conditions in the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley regions,” the NWS outlook says. “Drier-than-normal conditions are most likely in much of the West, the Rockies, parts of the Southwest, much of Texas, along the Gulf Coast and Florida.”

For the 51 percent of the of the continental U.S. experiencing drought conditions, the spring outlook is mixed.


National Weather Service spring drought outlook

“Drought conditions are expected to persist, with new drought development, in California, the Southwest, the southern Rockies, Texas, and Florida,” NWS writes. “The outlook favors some improvement in the Midwest, the northern and central Great Plains, Georgia, the Carolinas, and northern Alaska.”

Related: Historic U.S. drought will continue into spring and summer, experts say

At the other extreme, the combination of snowmelt and warm season rains gives rise to flood potential in some areas.  This year, NWS targets the Northern Plains as a key flood risk zone.

“Based on the above normal amount of water in the current snowpack and seasonal forecasts of continued above normal precipitation, a potential for exceeding moderate and major river flood levels exists for the Red River of the North, which forms the state line between eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota, and the Souris River in North Dakota for Spring 2013,” the NWS writes.


National Weather Service spring flood outlook

The NWS also highlights the middle Mississippi, lower Missouri, and Ohio River basins as areas that have elevated risk for flooding.

Here’s a video overview of the spring outlook, from NWS:

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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