July 18 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Northeast, parts of the mid-Atlantic and much of the western half of the country all have a chance to be warmer than normal through the next three months, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
While the two ends of the country may have temperatures above normal, the forecast isn’t as clear in the northern Great Plains, Midwest and southeastern U.S., according to the center in College Park, Maryland. Those areas have an equal chance of being warm, cool or normal.
The prediction for the Northeast is based on forecast models and “in part due to long-term trends,” said Dan Collins, a meteorologist at the center. A high-pressure ridge may develop over the region and bring in higher temperatures, he said during a conference call with reporters.
Higher temperatures in large U.S. cities can affect energy markets as more people turn to air conditioners to keep cool. Natural gas will be used to fuel about 32 percent of power plants this year, according to the Energy Information Administration.
The center is also calling for above-normal rainfall for the Southwest and the South. Drought conditions may improve in Arizona, New Mexico, western Texas and parts of southern Utah and Colorado through Oct. 31.
As of today, drought exists only in the western half of the country, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“We are completely drought-free east of the Mississippi River for the first time since May 2005,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
Today’s Drought Monitor update found 46 percent of the contiguous U.S. covered by some form of drought, down from 64 percent a year earlier.
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