Forecasters in the United States predict a hot spring for much of the country, with the drought in the West expected to worsen.
Above picture: At Tahoe City, Calif., a pier and dock sit above Lake Tahoe’s receding shoreline on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The West’s record-breaking megadrought will certainly worsen this spring, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal prediction released Thursday, March 17, 2022. However, substantial floods should be avoided in most of the central and eastern states.
The West’s record-breaking megadrought, which is expected to worsen this spring, has no end in sight, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal outlook released Thursday. However, substantial floods should be avoided in most of the central and eastern states.
According to NOAA meteorologists, spring will be hotter than usual in most states and drier than usual for much of the West. They claim that the extreme heat and drought would exacerbate each other, as the lack of rain will make it hotter and dry conditions worse.
Except for Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, and much of Idaho, NOAA expects that all of the Lower 48 states will be warmer than normal in April, May, and June. Only a small area from the Great Lakes to Kentucky is expected to receive more rain than usual. In hot and humid places, allergies are predicted to worsen.
“As the climate has warmed, drought has worsened, particularly in the West,” said Deke Arndt, NOAA’s chief of climate science and services. “Climate change is the reason the West is warming, especially over a multi-decade span.”
According to Jon Gottschalck, operational prediction chief at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, 60 percent of the country is already under some type of drought, the highest drought coverage since 2013. He predicted that circumstances in many of those locations will deteriorate, perhaps setting the ground for more heatwaves.
La Nina, a natural cyclical cooling of the central Pacific that has an impact on global climate, is a major factor in the spring forecast, according to Gottschalck.
According to Brett Whitin, a hydrologist at NOAA’s California Nevada River Forecast Center, three-year rain and snow levels in California, particularly in the Central Valley, may soon approach their lowest levels since 1922. California has 1.5 million acre-feet less water than it did this time last year, and he believes the only way to make up for the shortfall is for big December snow to cover some of the gaps.
In a press briefing, Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the United States Department of Agriculture, said, “It does make for some pretty difficult (crop) producer decisions as to what to continue to grow and what to keep alive.”
According to research, the more than 20-year megadrought that has gripped the West is the worst in 1,200 years and is exacerbated by human-induced climate change caused by the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. According to Brad Pugh, a drought meteorologist with the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, worsening dryness also sets the setting for more hazardous wildfires in the summer.
Spring in the middle region of the country is notorious for causing flooding. However, across much of the Mississippi River basin and Tennessee Valley, the risk of flooding is low this year.
About 500,000 people could be impacted by major flooding and serious damage, which is significantly fewer than in previous years. Flood risk has increased around the Red River, which divides North Dakota and Minnesota, due to above-average precipitation and other variables, according to NOAA.