WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Weather Service (NWS) long range forecast for U.S. mainland over the next six to 10 days calls for a mix of rain, snow and continuing dry conditions. Rain in the Ohio Valley, snow in the west and continuing dry conditions across the Gulf states are the featured aspects of the latest report.
The Ohio River Valley and the middle Mississippi River Valley will see rain accumulations of up to four inches over the reporting period as several low-pressure systems rapidly pass across the area. Some low-level flooding may occur.
The Red River Valley and central North Dakota will see little precipitation over the reporting period. This is fortunate, because several river levels in the area have been at or above flood stage during the past few weeks from spring runoff and melting ice.
Mountain areas in the west will see periods of snow during the next 10 days, adding to an already heavy snow pack. The temperature trend in the next few days should reduce much of the potential flood threat. If the temperatures rise slowly over the next few weeks, the snow pack could prove beneficial to western farmers and ranchers who will need the water later in the summer season.
Florida and other areas in the Southeast will see continuing dry conditions, adding to an already serious wildfire threat. Forecasters said that the trend may continue into the summer, which could make this year's wildfire season as bad as 1998.
The cause of the dryness is a slowly diminishing La Nina phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. The colder-than-usual sea surface temperatures are driving the dry conditions over the Southeast, particularly into the Sunshine State. This trend is expected to slowly abate during the spring and summer.