Above: Areas of the United States where the average temperature for April-June 2018 is favored to be in the upper (reddish colors) or lower (blue colors) third of the 1981-2010 seasonal temperature record. Within a given area, the intensity of the colors indicates higher or lower chances for a warm or a cool outcome, not bigger or smaller anomalies. For example, both Texas and Tennessee face better than even chances of experiencing well above average spring temperatures, but the chances are higher in Texas (60-70%) than in Tennessee (40-50%). NOAA Climate.gov map, based on data from NOAA CPC. Photo credit: NOAA
Spring is likely to be warmer than the historical normal this year in much of the country with a worsening drought situation across swaths of the West, according to the latest report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The report, issued Thursday, encompasses April-June.
The Northern Rockies is the only region leaning toward below-average temperatures this spring, forecasters said.
In addition to increased probabilities of warmer temperatures across much of the U.S. — and especially the Southwest — the outlook suggests drought is likely to develop or worsen in Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico and part of Utah, Colorado and Kansas.
“It appears La Nina is on its last legs,” said Mike Halpert, with the Climate Prediction Center. “As sea surface temperature anomalies weaken, their influence on springtime temperature and precipitation should also weaken.”
The outlook also noted a moderate risk of flooding in the Ohio River Valley basin and lower Mississippi River where streamflows and soil moisture are above normal after recent heavy rain.