Record-breaking drought conditions ravaged the United States last year, impacting everything from crop production to fish populations. If there were any hopes of a reprieve this year, the NOAA’s US Spring Outlook report brings some unwelcome news. According to the report, drought conditions and above-average temperatures will continue to plague the US and heavy flooding may ravage some areas.

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Each spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases its predictions for the coming months. This year, the NOAA warns that the western half of the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, which have already experienced drought conditions over the past year, will continue to be dry. The area from California to Ohio and from Texas to North Dakota will be drier than normal, meaning that over half of the country will experience drought conditions.  On the other hand, parts of the mid-west near the Great Lakes will probably be wetter than normal.

The northwestern US, including Washington and parts of Oregon, is expected to be cooler than average, but the majority of the country will probably experience temperatures that are 30 to 50 percent hotter than average, meaning that those record-breaking heat waves and parched crops are likely here to stay for another year. Because of the heat and snowpack melt, there is a high likelihood of flooding along the Red River in North Dakota and along the Mississippi River.

The NOAA releases its outlook report each year to help farmers, businesses and individuals prepare for the coming weather. This year’s report reminds us how important it is to address climate change now, before things get even worse.

+ NOAA Spring Outlook

Via Climate Central