Now that winter is over, it’s time to look to the year ahead to see our most likely weather over the next 12 months. See what’s predicted for spring 2015 through winter 2016.
The key to our upcoming weather is that Solar Cycle 24 is now well into its declining phase after reaching double peaks in late 2011 and early 2014. Despite having two maxima, this cycle is the smallest in more than 100 years.
General 2016 Weather Prediction
As solar activity continues to decline from these low peaks toward its expected minima in early 2019, we expect temperatures in much of the nation to be hot this spring and summer. With the strong El Niño of this past winter transitioning to a La Niña in the coming summer, we are looking at an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season, with the winter of 2016–17 much colder than this past winter in most locations.
Spring 2016 Weather Prediction
The western third of the nation will have a warm and mostly dry spring, which will increase the danger of wildfires as we move toward summer. In the nation’s eastern two-thirds, the north will be ideal for outdoor activities, but above-normal temperatures and below-normal rainfall will raise concerns about drought in some areas; the south will be cooler and rainier than normal, with above-normal tornado activity.
Summer 2016 Weather Prediction
The summer will bring above-normal temperatures to most of the nation, although portions of the south will have below-normal temperatures and above-normal rainfall.
Hurricane season will be more active than it was last year, with threats along the Atlantic and Gulf regions. The best chance for a major hurricane strike will be in early July in Florida and from late August to mid-September along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf coasts.
An Early Winter 2016 Weather Prediction
Winter temperatures will be much colder than last winter—but still above normal—in much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation. The only exceptions will be in a swath from North Dakota to Maine, which will have below-normal temperatures. Most of the Pacific states will have below-normal temperatures, with above-normal temperatures in the Intermountain region and Desert Southwest. Snowfall will be above normal from southern New England and western New York southwestward through the Appalachians; from eastern Minnesota eastward to the UP (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan and southward to St. Louis, Missouri; and from central North Dakota westward to the Pacific coast. We expect below-normal snowfall in most other places that normally receive snow.
Precipitation will be below normal across most of the southern two-thirds of the nation and above normal in the north, with the primary exceptions being above-normal rainfall in northern California, southern Oregon, portions of the Midwest, and Florida.