What does this summer hold for the nation’s weather? To prepare for the months ahead, the WeatherBug Meteorology Team issues its annual U.S. Summer Forecast.
Here’s what to expect this summer:
- No End in Sight for California Drought: Normal rainfall is expected in California, but this precipitation will not significantly ease the prolonged and extreme drought that’s in its fourth year. To make matters worse, the drought will continue to spread northward into Oregon and Washington, where it will affect hydroelectric power generation in the Columbia River Basin.
- Turning up the Heat: Along with the worsening drought, California and the Pacific Northwest will contend with above-normal temperatures – factors that increase the potential for wildfires. California, Oregon and Washington will grapple with an earlier start to wildfire season and could see above-normal fire activity. In other parts of the country, the forecast favors above-normal temperatures in Nevada, and much of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Above-normal temperatures are also favored for areas along the Gulf of Mexico and across Florida.
- Above-Average Rain More Likely: In contrast to the West Coast drought, above-average rainfall is expected in the western mountain states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, portions of Arizona, and most of New Mexico. Above-average rainfall is also more likely for southern portions of Alabama and Georgia, and the Florida panhandle.
- Cooler Temperatures Possible: Lower-than-normal summer temperatures are expected from the Upper Mississippi Valley, across the states bordering the Great Lakes, and much of New England, including Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. The cooler temperatures will place less stress on the power grid in the Great Lakes and New England this summer.
- Normal Temperatures Expected: Cities on the East Coast, including Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York, are expected to receive normal summer temperatures. In the Southeast, Nashville, Richmond, Raleigh and Atlanta are expected to experience normal temperatures. Seasonal temperatures are favored throughout much of the northern Rockies through the Midwest states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, and southern portion of the Ohio Valley.
“Much of the U.S. will experience summer weather that’s somewhat similar to last year,” says Senior Meteorologist James Aman. “Unfortunately, this means the extreme drought will continue in California, and the drought will spread into Oregon and Washington state this summer. When combined with the very low snowpack, this will bring dangerous and costly impacts — including a longer wildfire season with larger fires, increasing water restrictions, and stress on agriculture — to these states. In addition, below-normal hydropower will mean more costly electricity will be needed from alternate sources.”
To develop the summer forecast, WeatherBug meteorologists analyzed a range of factors, including a variety of climate models, sea- surface temperatures, and other information. This year, the ENSO (El Niño) pattern and water temperatures in the north Pacific Ocean are the major factors affecting this summer’s temperature and precipitation outlook.