Enlarge /. Let's start with something beautiful … look at the orange that pops out of this April 14 satellite image of the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve.
On Friday, the NOAA released its latest seasonal weather forecast for the United States, which followed an updated hurricane seasonal forecast. As always, the seasonal outlook begins with a review of the previous month.
April 2020 was the second warmest April in the world, but a southern meander of the jet stream over Canada and the eastern United States made this region of North America exceptional. In the adjacent United States, April was slightly below the 1895 average. Rainfall was also slightly below average, but some states, including Colorado and Nebraska, had an extremely dry April, while the Virginia and Georgia were extremely wet.
This was the second warmest April in the world that ever existed.
Here's how U.S. rainfall compares to averages for April.
If you live in the Midwest or in the plains, you won't be surprised that the past few weeks have not been particularly warm. This is because there was a strong freeze in mid-April and another freeze in the second week of May. While the April frost wasn't really late compared to the long-term averages, it followed a warm spring, which in many places caused the vegetation to emerge early – just to be bitten by a frost.
As a result, significant damage has been found in some cultures. The germinated winter wheat was hit in the Central Plains. Elsewhere, some vegetables that had been planted were lost, and fruit trees were particularly at risk. For example, the NOAA briefing pointed to peach plantations in Colorado, which reported losses of up to 90 percent.
The outlook up to August – based on things like the temperature patterns of the ocean surface in the Pacific, long-term patterns and trends, and some long-distance models – shows widespread warm temperatures, but an east-west chasm in the rainfall.
The southern oscillation of El Niño in the Pacific remains in a neutral state and therefore does not load the dice for something particularly unusual. However, the model forecast tends towards mild La Niña conditions from autumn, which would end a longer run in neutrality.
Temperatures are expected to be above average in most of the United States, including Alaska. However, the Midwest and Northern Plains have the same chances of being above or below the average. In terms of rainfall, most of the eastern United States see solid opportunities for above-average rainfall, while the northern plains of the western states are likely to be below average.
It is therefore no surprise that the existing droughts from Colorado via Northern California to Washington are expected to continue and increase. Hawaii and Puerto Rico also see drought conditions that are not expected to change. However, drought could end in some areas on the Gulf Coast.
The temperature outlook for June, with the colors showing areas where the likelihood of warmer or colder temperatures than average prefers.
The precipitation forecast until June.
Temperature outlook for June, July and August.
And here is the precipitation forecast until August.
The drought periods until August.
Some of the precipitation prospects in the east are related to the hurricane season. NOAA still estimates a 60 percent chance of above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic. This corresponds to approximately 13 to 19 named storms (above the average of 12), 6 to 10 storms that reach the severity of a hurricane, and 3 to 6 that reach category 3 or higher.
While the forecasts for the hurricane season are less certain than the seasonal weather forecast – and it is impossible to predict whether major storms would land in the open ocean or change their lives – the logic behind this is fairly simple. El Niño conditions in the Pacific tend to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic through some atmospheric dominoes. We consider neutral conditions that can drift towards La Niña and have the opposite effect.
In addition, sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean are hot, and wind patterns over the Atlantic coincide with past active hurricane seasons.
It goes without saying that a weather disaster during a pandemic would further burden an emergency system that is already reaching its limits. It would be a good year to prepare a little more if you live in an area at risk.