NOAA's Mike Halpert explains the agency's 2018 spring climate outlook

March 15, 2018

The official NOAA/NWS press release is here.  The maps used in the video are below. 

Minor to moderate flood risk throughout Mississippi watershed


Spring 2018 flood risk in the contiguous United States. Areas vulnerable to minor flooding are light blue;  moderate flooding, medium blue. These maps reflect places where the "background" climate conditions—such as a wet winter and saturated soils—create an enhanced risk of flooding throughout the season. Flash flooding can still occur anywhere in response to extreme weather.  NOAA Climate.gov map, based on data from the Climate Prediction Center.


Highest chances for warm spring: Hawaii, Southwest, Gulf Coast


Areas of the United States where the average temperature for April-June 2018 is favored to be in the upper (reddish colors) or lower (blue colors) third of the 1981-2010 seasonal temperature record. Within a given area, the intensity of the colors indicates higher or lower chances for a warm or a cool outcome, not bigger or smaller anomalies. For example, both Texas and Tennessee face better than even chances of experiencing well above average spring temperatures,  but the chances are higher in Texas (60-70%) than in Tennessee (40-50%).  NOAA Climate.gov map, based on data from NOAA CPC. 


Highest chances of a wet spring: Great Lakes, central Alaska, Hawaii


Places where the 2018 forecast favors well above normal (green) or well below normal (brown) spring precipitation.  Within a given area, the intensity of the colors indicates higher or lower probability for a wet or dry outcome, not how wet or dry the season is predicted to be. For example, both Nevada and southern Idaho are favored to experience a much drier than normal spring, but the odds of such a dry spring are higher in Nevada (40-50% chance) than Idaho (33-40% chance). Map by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from NOAA CPC. 


Largest drought footprint likely to be in Southwest

map of contiguous United States showing spring drought forecast in different colors.

Drought is likely to worsen or develop across much of the Southwest quadrant of the contiguous United States this spring. Pockets of drought are predicted to continue in the Southeast and Oregon.  Map by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from the Climate Prediction Center.