Summer officially begins on June 21, and after the wild ups and downs we’ve seen so far this spring, it’s no wonder many states have residents already looking ahead to some summer warmth.
Just be careful what you wish for.
Long-term forecast models are pointing to another exceptionally hot summer everywhere in the U.S. except for the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains.
The worst heat is likely to be felt in areas west of the Rocky Mountains and in the Northeast.
The West Coast, Southwest, most of Texas and everywhere from eastern New York to New England and Maine are all within the darker shades of orange, meaning there’s a 50 percent chance of above-average temperatures.
The rest of the East Coast, the Southeast, a large swath across the Plains and most of Alaska are also likely to feel the heat this summer.
The Midwest, Mid-South and the rest of the areas covered in the lightest orange color only have a slightly elevated chance of having above-average temps this summer, but the probability is still better than a coin toss that it’ll be warmer than usual from June to August.
The areas in white, covering parts of the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, can likely expect a summer with some ups and downs, but overall average warmth for the season.
Extra-hot summers are becoming the norm
This trend of hotter summers is something the United States has been seeing for the last 20 years for the most part.
Every summer the past two decades, except in 2009 and 2004, has been hotter than the average.
According to NOAA, the summers of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016 all fall within the top 10 hottest summers of the past 123 years.
And if the most recent forecasts pan out in June, July and August, this upcoming summer could join the ranks of the hottest summers on record.
Drought likely to spread
Severe to exceptional drought is currently stretching from Arizona and Utah to Kansas, Oklahoma and the western half of Texas.
Unfortunately, rainfall forecasts for the summer months look like these drought conditions will only spread and worsen instead of improve with below-average rainfall forecast across Texas and Oklahoma and in the Northwest.
As things stand now, the worst drought areas are sandwiched between two regions expected to get less rain than normal.
The only spots that can expect a wetter summer are northern Alaska, the Northeast and parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes Regions.
With current long term forecasts trending the way they are, it appears the main headline for summer 2018 will once again be exceptional heat and worsening drought, two things we’ve become accustomed to in the last 20 years.