No major flooding is predicted this spring, though minor to moderate flooding is possible across a large swath of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest stretching to New England.
According to federal forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the risk of flooding remains minor to moderate over roughly half of the country. The highest threat of exceeding flood levels this spring is the southern Great Lakes region due to a deep layer of frozen ground and above-average snowpack.
"This year’s spring flood potential is widespread and includes rivers in highly populated areas putting millions of Americans at risk," said Louis Uccellini, Ph.D., director, NOAA’s National Weather Service. "Although widespread major river flooding is not expected, an abrupt warming or heavy rainfall event could lead to isolated major flooding."
California, however, is left high and dry after experiencing its third warmest and third driest winter on record. Drought is likely to persist or intensify in California and other areas in the West because of below-average precipitation this winter and the onset of the dry season in April.
Forecasters warn that if drought conditions persist as expect, it could result in continued stress on crops and livestock, expansion of water conservation measures and an active wildfire season.
California’s drought has also tilted in the odds towards a warmer-than-average spring for much of the West Coast.
“When the ground is dry, the sun’s energy goes directly into heating the air rather than evaporating moisture,” Mike Halpert with Climate Prediction Center explained in a Spring Outlook, embedded above. Qx_flL4dEwY
The greatest chance of a warmer spring also extend through the southern Plains and the Gulf Coast. However, with the exception of an increased likelihood of a dry spring along the West Coast, the majority of the country has an equal chance of a dry – or wet – spring.