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Midwest to experience gradual transition

By Jillian MacMath • May 7, 2019 at 1:00 PM

Summer weather will waste no time spreading across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic this season, as heat arrives in June.

However, the Midwest and central Plains will see more of a gradual transition.

Meanwhile, the northern Plains will benefit from a below-normal season for severe weather, while the southern Plains is battered by flooding rainfall and severe storms.

Here is a region-by-region outlook:

Northeast, mid-Atlantic, Great Lakes

There will be no delay to the start of the summer in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes as heat surges into the regions during June.

AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok said: “Summer is going to make its entrance right off the bat. We’re going to have some back-and-forth weather in June, but that will get more consistent in July.

The warmth will promote a less-stable atmosphere, meaning a few severe weather events are possible early on.

Overall, the summer will welcome more 90-degree and above days than last summer, when frequent precipitation held back daytime high temperatures.

Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Gulf Coast

After an abundance of rain over the past year in the Southeast, Tennessee Valley and Gulf Coast, the eastern half of the region will see a return to drier conditions.

This may make it easier for residents to spend time outdoors and tend to do-it-yourself projects.

Wet and humid weather will instead target western areas of these regions.

According to Pastelok, the lower Mississippi Valley and the Delta region will be under the gun for flooding going into the summer season.

“Rain and even heavy thunderstorms could lead to flooding in cities like Memphis, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas,” he said.

Midwest, central Plains

After enduring heavy rain and snow over the past several months, the Midwest and central Plains will see a gradual transition to summer’s heat.

“Soil moisture is a big deal, it can dictate temperatures and how high they can get,” Pastelok said.

In these locations, the moisture will help to hold back the heat into the first half of the season.

“After that, it will depend on how frequently storms come,” he said.

It’s predicted that temperatures in the region will average near to below normal for the season as a whole.

Northern Plains

The frequency of severe weather events in the northern Plains is also predicted to be below normal this season.

“The most active weather this year will be farther south,” Pastelok said.

Southern Plains

After Texas missed out on the heavy rainfall targeting the southern Plains last summer, Mother Nature will flip the script this year.

Eastern areas of the region will be targeted with significant precipitation throughout the summer, including severe thunderstorms in July.

Southwest

The summer could kick off with a few periods of rainfall in the Southwest, which lead to localized flooding.

This will help to keep the heat at bay throughout the month of June.

Temperatures are likely to climb later in the season and are expected to average slightly above normal overall.

Northwest to Rockies

The Northwest and the Rockies are poised to have a warmer-than-normal season, as dry conditions allow temperatures to climb.

“The key in the Northwest is how fast does it dry out,” Pastelok said. “We’re waiting to see this, it’s the big risk factor.”

If both regions dry out in early June, there’s possibility that the summer season could run 3-5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal overall.

Areas already dealing with minor drought conditions in the Northwest are likely to worsen, if this occurs, potentially developing into moderate-to-severe drought.

As temperatures rise and precipitation remains scarce, the Northwest - particularly from the Cascades into the Bitterroot chain - is the mostly likely target for a higher frequency of wildfires this summer.

“There is a lot vegetation, so the fuel is there. The question is whether it will dry out enough,” Pastelok said.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jillian MacMath is an AccuWeather staff writer.

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