Hot and Dry Summer Dries Out Much of the US
Next Threat on the Horizon May Be Hurricane Season
The La Nina that has driven the extreme weather since winter is over, but the lingering effects mean no summer for the Great Lakes, drought conditions expanding out of the southern Plains, and flooding expanding into the Midwest from the Mississippi Valley.
The weather pattern that produced a wild winter for the Northeast and parts of the Midwest, then extreme flooding and devastating killer tornadoes this spring, is changing to one that may not be as volatile this summer. However, given the national economic impacts of the tornadoes and floods this spring, all it would take is one hit by a major hurricane to stress the economy even more.
Senior Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, leader of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team, said a change in the weather pattern means areas of the lower Mississippi Valley hit by flooding will have hot, drier weather this summer, which could help clear standing water and dry saturated ground. However, we will need to keep a careful eye on the tropics as late-season tropical storms could threaten the Gulf and/or East Coast states.
Great Lakes / Ohio Valley / Midwest
Summer Brings Cool, Wet Conditions
The end of the La Nina pattern will threaten to make this area a region "without a summer." Repeated intrusions of cool air from Canada along with showers and thunderstorms will keep temperatures below normal in many areas. Temperatures topping 90 F may be rare.
The severe weather that has plagued the South this spring will shift northward. Frequent bouts of thunderstorms could mean numerous instances of flooding, hail and wind damage, even tornadoes. While we probably had the most extreme tornado activity of 2011 during April and May, the summer still has potential to bring a few moderate outbreaks of tornadoes.
Flooding may be the biggest concern this summer, as already-soggy ground can handle only so much heavy rain.
Wet Spring Gives Way to Nicer Summer Weather
The Northeast has been frequently cloudy and damp this spring, but that is forecast to change this summer. While not as hot as it was last year, it will become warmer and more humid this summer with temperatures close to long-term averages. That means in major cities along the I-95 corridor, temperatures will hit the 90-degree mark or higher for the typical number of times this summer.
The region will have its share of rainfall, as more showers and thunderstorms will return during midsummer, and humidity levels may run higher than normal.
Pastelok also added there is always the threat of a tropical system sneaking up the coast from the south, as hurricane season will ramp up by the end of June.
Southeast / Southern Plains
Hot and Dry but Wary of Tropical Storms
After the pattern change, the Southeast will remain hot and dry into the early summer with a high fire danger.
As the season progresses, increasing amounts of thunderstorms, and perhaps tropical systems, could bring some relief from the heat and dryness, but would increase the threat of flooding.
"Areas from the Middle Atlantic on south and west will run with temperatures above normal, but not as warm as last year," Pastelok said. "The dryness in the Southeast will continue into the start of summer."
Pastelok said the chance for early season (June) tropical storm development is possible along all the Southeast U.S. coast. If the systems are weak and non-destructive, tropical moisture could bring some very beneficial rainfall to the area. However, there is always the chance a system could develop into a hurricane.
Southwestern Plains / Rockies / Interior Southwest
Robust Monsoon and Tropical Pacific Season Predicted
The southwestern Plains into the Southwest Deserts will remain hot and dry for much of the summer, which could mean an increased chance of wildfires.
"The drought in the southwestern Plains and interior Southwest will continue, spreading northward into the central Rockies," Pastelok said. "As always, with this drought comes a high fire danger."
The monsoon season that was non-existent last year may be more robust this summer, according to Western Expert Meteorologist Ken Clark, which means thunderstorms over the Southwest. Clark suspects this will be a more active tropical season in the Eastern Pacific, especially in late summer. Weakening Pacific tropical systems could send tropical moisture into the Southwest and trigger thunderstorm activity.
West Coast / Pacific Northwest
June Gloom on the West Coast
"June Gloom" might get a late start this summer, but could persist well into the summer along the California beaches.
Although La Nina is weakening and transitioning to a more neutral state, Pacific Ocean waters will still be colder than normal, giving the extreme West Coast, including beach areas, a persistent chill.
"The West Coast will have near- or below-normal temperatures as the cold [ocean temperatures] hangs on through the summer, while the interior West heats up," Pastelok said.
As for the Pacific Northwest, the region will be back and forth, with some drying late in the season.
On the heels of Danielle, another weak tropical system will move onshore from the Gulf of Mexico with drenching downpours and the risk of flash flooding.
The risk of thunderstorms and severe weather will return to the north-central United States this weekend, including some areas that were hit by violent storms on Wednesday.
At least 20 people have died in West Virginia as a result of extreme flooding that inundated portions of the state on Thursday.
Showers threaten to cause delays on a nearly daily basis next week at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.
After dealing with heavy thunderstorms and heat to start the weekend, Germany will welcome more seasonable temperatures and fewer downpours early next week.
El Niño officially came to an end in early June, and experts are calling for a La Niña to develop in its footsteps.
Ohio Valley, Lower Great Lakes (1988)
Extreme Heat: Location: High Temperature(F): Canton, OH 100 Erie, PA 100 Milwaukee, WI 100 Pittsburgh, PA 98 (June record) Youngstown, PA 99 (hottest so early in season) Buffalo, NY 96 Toledo, OH 104 (June record) Detroit, MI 104 (June record tied) Chicago, IL 103 Cleveland, OH 104 (all-time record) Ft. Wayne, IN 106 (all-time record tied) South Bend, IN 104 (June record) Cincinnati, OH 102 Dayton, OH 102 (June record) Evansville, IN 101 Indianapolis, IN 102 (June record tied) Lexington, KY 101
Tupelo, MS (1991)
Flooding downpours: 1.25" or rain in 15 minutes; water reached the level of car windows in the street.
Holden Beach, NC (1994)
76 mph wind gust in a thunderstorm.