Yes, tree buds are bursting. Early spring flowers are blooming. Even the bugs are out enjoying record warmth in much of the Northeast. But beware!
La Niña's influence on weather will continue deep into spring before ending in early summer. That mean, contends Illinois-based Ag Meteorologist Greg Soule, that rather dominate ridges of high pressure aloft to set-up bringing bouts of late winter-like weather to the Northeast and New England – along with these periods of significant warmth.
Not until late in the season will this region experience longer-lasting spells of seasonal temperatures, he predicts. As for precipitation, normal to above normal amounts, including late-season snowfall is ahead in far northern areas. Wet weather will dominate from the Great Lakes region and Midwest, southward to the Ohio Valley, then northeastward into New England and the Mid-Atlantic. Fieldwork and planting delays are likely.
Look for a more active and possibly earlier start to the tropical season in the Atlantic basin. That may positively develop a wetter pattern in parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.
What's ahead for the Corn Belt
An active pattern will continue along with frequent cold air outbreaks through mid-season. Temperatures will range to below-normal to well-below normal, with some much warmer fluctuations from the Mississippi Valley to the lower Ohio Valley.
Normal to above-average frequency and amounts of precipitation are in the offing. The specter of local flooding in Ohio Valley locales may lead to fieldwork and planting delays. But improvement via a drier pattern is expected late-season. Elsewhere, over the remainder of spring, there are signs of a general trend towards drier conditions with more seasonal rain.
Looking ahead briefly into the 2012 summer season, there may be ongoing concerns regarding dryness and drought issues in the Southeast, certainly in the Southwest. Don't be surprised at ongoing or reemerging drought conditions in the far western Corn Belt and the southern Plains.