By Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities
Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning of summer, and as I sit here baking in the first official hot day, I thought that it would be a good time to write a post on NOAA’s (specifically, the Climate Prediction Center) 2011 summer weather forecast for the United States.
Technically, the governement experts don’t issue the type of detailed forecast that they do for the winter or hurricane season; however, their three-month long-range forecast for June through August serves the same purpose.
Expect hotter-than-average weather in the South and cooler-than-average weather in parts of the Plains, Midwest, and Tennessee Valley, with less precipitation than normal in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies.
How to Interpret Forecast
Remember, this is a probability scheme, not a traditional forecast. The areas where above or below average is predicted, it’s not an indication of how much above or below temps or precip will be; rather, it’s an indication of the likelihood of being above or below average.
The other areas, listed as “EC” on the map, are not areas where average temps or precip are expected, but where there is an equal chance of either above or below average temps/precip.
I don’t know that this type of forecast is particularly useful, but it can give some general guidance, and in this case, the strongest indicators are related to temperatures in the South and Midwest, as I mentioned above.