(BPT) - Whether you’re heading to the beach or hitting the slopes this spring, the weather just may be on your side.
According to the latest seasonal forecast from The Weather Company, the Northeastern, Southeastern and Northwestern U.S. will enjoy a warmer-than-normal spring, with the Plains and Southwest experiencing temperatures below normal. Most areas of the U.S. will see a wet spring, excluding portions of the Northeast and Southwest.
“After an extended cold period across the Northern U.S, the pattern is relenting as we head into spring,” said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Company. “Our models suggest a general warm-north and cool-south pattern, with above-normal temperatures expected across the Northeast and Northwest, and below-normal across the Plains and Southwest.”
El Niño returns
Heading into the summer season, El Niño will linger into a second year, bringing cooler-than-normal temperatures across the Northern and Central Plains, along with parts of Nevada and California. The most significant warmth is expected in the Northwest. And both coasts will see above-normal summer heat.
El Niño is characterized by a band of warm ocean water in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific.
Here are three things to know about a back-to-back El Niño and what it could mean for summer:
1. It’s rare. Back-to-back El Niño events have only happened five times since 1950. In four of those five years, the Northern Plains and Great Lakes experienced below-normal summer temperatures, with warmer-than-normal temperatures across the Southern Tier and Pacific Northwest.
2. It could bring fewer hurricanes. In general, wind shear — the change in wind direction or speed with height — is stronger in the Atlantic Basin during El Niño seasons. All other factors equal, this shear tends to reduce the number of hurricanes that form in a given season.
3. Pack your umbrella. El Niño conditions over the last year resulted in a historically wet period across much of the United States. Rains are expected to continue into the summer across the Plains and parts of the Southeast. On the bright side, that could spell relief from the sweltering summer heat experienced across much of the U.S. last year.
“High soil moisture, combined with lingering El Niño conditions, will likely limit the summer heat this year compared to the very hot summer of 2018," Crawford added.