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Spring Forecast: Little Drought Relief
The calendar says Spring, but it still feels like winter in parts of the country experiencing a cold snap.
That won't last.
According to NOAA's three month spring outlook, as spring moves into summer, much of the nation can expect blistering temperatures in the coming weeks.
More than half the U.S. remains in a drought, mostly in the Central and Western regions.
Winter brought some improvement in the Midwest and Northern Plains, but not enough.
"You've still got that main core drought of D3, D4 right through the Central Plains, that area really hasn't seen any improvement since this summer," notes NOAA Climate Prediction Center Meteorologist David Miskus.
In some western mountain areas where snow melt directly affects water levels snow-pack is only 75 percent of normal.
With reservoirs already low water managers are preparing for shortages and rationing.
"You're hitting the system harder and harder each year the drought continues," notes Robert Henson of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
Dry, hot conditions increase the risk of wildfires.
It also strains agriculture, and may force farmers and ranchers to consider cutting back on production, which will be felt in food prices.
Along with drought, the outlook calls for more river flooding than last year, with the highest risk in North Dakota.
"If we get a sudden thaw with warm temperatures and heavy rain on top of that will run off and cause flooding on the surface and very little of that will penetrate in the ground," Miskus warns.