Summer 2014 outlook: Temperatures above normal for much of the US

Summer 2014 is upon us! What do longterm forecasts say about where it will be hot and dry, where it will be wet and muggy, and where it will be refreshingly cool.

Eric Thayer/Reuters
People take part in a group yoga practice on the morning of the summer solstice in New York's Times Square, June 21, 2013. The Times Square Alliance and yoga apparel company Althea will offer two days of yoga classes this weekend in celebration of the 2014 Solstice.

Get out your beach chairs and sunscreen; summer is on the march. Saturday marks the June solstice and the official start of Summer 2014, and according to forecasters there should be plenty of summer sun to go around in the coming months.

Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released their annual summer outlook this week.

Residents of the Northeast, the Southeast, and the Midwest can expect to kick off the season with above average temperatures, though rain could potentially spoil beach and barbeque plans.

Heavy rain events in the central US and central southern Appalachians during the next three to seven days could pose flash-flooding hazards, but could also provide some short-term drought relief for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and North Texas, NOAA’s climate scientist Jake Crouch told reporters in a media call Thursday. predicts that flash flooding could continue to be a problem in Utah, Oklahoma, and Wyoming throughout the summer, while the Plains and southern mid-Atlantic should expect some intense thunderstorms.

Americans looking for a refreshingly cool vacation destination might want to consider heading to the Great Lakes, where Accuweather expects the extensive ice cover that accumulated throughout the frigid winter and has been slow to thaw will likely keep temperatures below normal and steer storms further south.

For July, forecasters expect drought conditions to improve across much of the interior Southwest and parts of the Rocky Mountains and Central Plains. But they see little relief for the already drought-stricken West Coast, which for more than a year has been struggling to cope with the worst drought since the 1970s, NOAA’s seasonal forecaster Stephen Baxter told reporters.

In California, average temperatures over the first five months of 2014 surpassed the existing record for that period, which was set back in 1934, by 0.1 degree, Mr. Crouch explained.

The height of the summer will likely bring above normal temperatures to parts of the Southeast and below normal temperatures across parts of the upper Midwest, northern Plains, south central front range of the Rocky Mountains, and parts of northern Colorado and Wyoming, Mr. Baxter said.

“At the same time, we are favoring an extensive region of above normal temperatures ranging from much of Alaska and spreading southeastward through much of the West Coast,” Baxter said.

While this past month was the hottest May on record globally, average temperatures in the United States were near normal, with high temperatures in the West countering unseasonably low temperatures in the East, Couch said.

While California has endured its warmest year on record through the end of May with temperatures 5 degrees above average, 13 states had one of their 10 coldest starts to the year, stretching from the upper Midwest through the Midwest, Northeast, and along the Gulf Coast, Couch explained. When averaged together, the past several months marked the coldest start to a year for the contiguous United States since 1996.

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