AccuWeather Global Weather Center – The wait is over. For those hoping to thaw out from winter's chill, AccuWeather's annual spring forecast is here. Though Punxsutawney Phil recently declared the end of winter, AccuWeather meteorologists are calling for a delayed start to the season across much of the United States.
Mild air will be slow to arrive in the Northeast, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley this year, as the chance for snow lingers into midspring. Meanwhile, the Southeast will brace for a wet and stormy couple of months.
The season will be split in the West as some areas will experience a prolonged winter season and others may seemingly skip the season altogether and jump ahead to summer.
Take a look at the complete region-by-region breakdown below:
The southwestern Plains, including areas from Dallas and Oklahoma City on westward, will largely miss out on significant spells of wet weather this spring.
“I think those areas will end up missing out on a lot of big systems, unlike last year. These systems, we think, will tend to head farther north this year,” Pastelok said.
The dryness will promote building warmth across West Texas, which could eventually push the mercury in cities from El Paso to Dallas up to levels more typical of summer.
Meanwhile, the lower Mississippi Valley and eastern Plains will occasionally experience severe weather before the bulk of the activity spreads to the central and north-central Plains in April and May.
The combination of snowmelt and wet weather may lead to muddy fields and planting delays across the Upper Midwest and northern Plains, especially in the Red River Valley.
Northeast, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley
Spring will get off to a late start this year as winter stretches into March for the Northeast, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
“It looks to me like cold and snow combined could linger this year before we see a break by midspring,” AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said.
The delayed warmth will be good news for ski resorts, particularly in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, where snow cover will persist the longest.
The I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston is more likely to have rain mixed with snow, similar to what the region has experienced during much of the winter.
For most of the regions, temperatures will start to climb in April. However, a few cold spells are possible in the Upper Midwest and Northeast in May, preventing a rapid change to summer.
Toward the end of spring, severe weather events will become more frequent in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Philadelphia may be in the line of fire, Pastelok said.
Meanwhile, rain may lead to planting delays in the eastern Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley and Southeast.
Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Gulf States
A wet weather pattern is in store for the Southeast this spring, with most of the rain falling in the first half of the season.
“We’ve already seen a pretty active southern jet stream with a lot of storms. I think that continues into the spring season and that’s going to lead to some flooding,” Pastelok said.
Severe storms will frequent the Gulf states and the Tennessee Valley, particularly during late March and April. Warm Gulf waters paired with an active storm track could lead to a couple of big events for the regions, including cities like Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, and even Jackson, Mississippi.
As May rolls around, a quieter weather pattern will replace the wet and stormy conditions.
March and April will remain active across the central and eastern Rockies this year, providing both regions with mountain snow and rainfall in the valleys.
The extended winter weather will be good news for skiers and snowboarders, who may be able to hit the slopes later than expected.
“They’ve had a busy central Rockies ski season this year, and I think that will continue to be the case into spring,” Pastelok said.
While the Northwest also had a good season, temperatures rising quickly in the springtime may lead to the snowpack diminishing faster than normal and additional flooding around streams and river.
Temperatures will also rise quickly in Southern California, where dry conditions will dominate.
“There are some drought concerns this spring, especially for Southern California,” Pastelok said. “If we don’t start to see any precipitation here on the back end of the winter season, Southern California will get drier much quicker than expected.”
Overall, much of the West will experience above-normal temperatures this spring, with the exception of the central and northern Rockies.