On The First Day Of Spring, Outlook Predicts Warmer-Than-Usual Season

Mar 20, 2014

On this first day of spring, the seasonal outlook is calling for a warmer-than-average spring west of the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

The strongest signal to emerge from the Weather Service climate models foreshadows above-normal temperatures along the West Coast.

The spring outlook includes little prospect for meaningful drought relief for parts of Oregon and southwest Idaho, says Jon Gottschalck, a forecaster at the national Climate Prediction Center.

"If the drought persists as predicted in the west and southwest, it will likely result in an active wildfire season, continue to stress crops and livestock due to low water levels. And an expansion of water conservation measures are likely,” he said.

A freshly-updated drought map prepared by the federal Department of Agriculture classifies southwest Idaho and 95 percent of Oregon under moderate to severe drought.

On the other hand, the current snowpack in the Northern Cascades and Northern Rockies is at or above normal, boding well for hydropower production and Columbia River basin irrigators.