Spring 2018 Predictions: Chances of Drought, High Temperatures and Flooding

The spring equinox may have only just happened, but for meteorologists, it's been spring for weeks now. The meteorological season begins in March and lasts through April and May, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With each new season, NOAA releases a climate outlook covering the likelihood of flooding and drought, as well as the likely temperature fluctuations to come over the months leading to summer.

This year, heavy rains have caused flooding in the Ohio and Mississippi River basin. According to NOAA, this trend is expected to continue through May in those areas.

Additional flooding is expected in the Missouri River basin due to a significant snowpack. Even in other areas of the country where there is a minor chance of flooding, heavy rainfall or thunderstorms could increase likelihood. For example, storms in much of the Southeast are already in the forecast for the last week in March. The outlook map indicates areas where the chance of flooding is a 50 percent risk or higher.

spring flood outlook
Areas of red show where moderate flooding is expected and the yellow/orange colors show where the risk of flooding is minor for spring 2018, according to NOAA. NOAA

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, major parts of California and the Southwest are currently under drought conditions. The high plains and some areas of the Southeast are also at risk of seeing drought conditions as the spring continues on.

In many of those areas where drought is more likely, precipitation is also expected to be low. Below-average levels of precipitation are expected to occur from California across the country through the low plains including much of Texas and parts of Oklahoma, according to NOAA.

Flooding is expected in the high plains across the Great Lakes and east to the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. These areas will likely see above-average levels of precipitation.

Temperatures are also expected to be above average for more than half of the country, including Alaska and Hawaii, while the northern Rockies is the only area that might have lower than average temperatures during the spring season. Though many parts of the Northeast have gotten several winter storms in the last month or so, the latest falling on the first full day of spring, the area should still expect a spring with temperatures above average.

warm spring noaa
This map shows the likelihood that certain parts of the United States will see above average temperatures for the spring months in 2018, according to NOAA. NOAA