South Can Expect Warmer Weather through June, Say U.S. Forecasters

March 20, 2008

Warmer-than-normal weather conditions will persist through June in the southwestern, southern and southeastern United States, government forecasters said on Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also predicted in its spring forecast that most of the country will have an equal chance of precipitation except for the Southwest from central and west Texas to Nevada where moisture will be below normal.

Drought conditions in the southeastern United States will improve, but drought is likely to develop or persist in western Texas, eastern New Mexico, western Kansas and Nebraska. Conditions also may improve or persist in western North and South Dakota.

NOAA does not see drought developing in the Midwest and the Ohio Valley. Moisture conditions are closely watched because corn is planted in April and May in the Midwest and Plains and generally followed soon after by soybeans.

Government forecasters said a moderate La Nina will linger through June before weakening.

The La Nina weather pattern is an unusual cooling of Pacific Ocean surface temperatures that can trigger widespread changes in weather around the world, including the U.S. grain belt in the Midwest, Plains and Southeast.

(Reporting by Christopher Doering; editing by Jim Marshall)

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