U.S. Spring May Be Warmer Than Normal, AccuWeather Says

Temperatures may be higher than normal this spring and the U.S. may be at increased risk for tornadoes, AccuWeather Inc. said a seasonal forecast.

The Northeast, central Great Plains and Texas may all have higher-than-normal temperatures into June, according to AccuWeather’s outlook released today. Temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico are already above normal, which may add fuel to storms crossing the U.S.

“It will be a nice and mild March for the I-95 corridor, spanning Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and Boston,” said the State College, Pennsylvania-based forecaster. “Cities across the interior Northeast, such as Pittsburgh and Buffalo, may even have a milder March than areas farther east.”

Winter in the lower 48 U.S. states was the warmest since 2000, with an average temperature of 36.8 degrees Fahrenheit (2.7 Celsius), the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, said yesterday. The season was the fourth-warmest on record, according to the center.

The trend will probably continue for the next three months, with the exception of the Pacific Northwest and West Coast, according to AccuWeather.

“We do feel like it’s going to be a mild spring for most of the nation from the eastern Rockies into the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes area,” said Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather’s expert long-range meteorologist. “At least two-thirds of the nation could wind up with above-normal temperatures.”

Cool Periods Possible

There may be some periods of cooler weather in the eastern U.S. in April and May. By June, “significant warming” will probably be under way, according to AccuWeather.

The climate center said 57 tornadoes were reported during February, nearly twice the average number for the month.

The U.S. has about 1,300 tornadoes in an average year, according to AccuWeather. In 2004, an all-time high 1,817 of the storms struck.

“Areas that seemed to miss out on frequent severe weather last year may see an uptick this year,” Dan Kottlowski, expert senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, said in the forecast.

Last week, two outbreaks of the deadly storms cut across the central U.S., killing about 50 people.

There is a 15 percent chance that damaging thunderstorms and winds will spread from eastern Texas, including Dallas, to central Arkansas today, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

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