WASHINGTON, March 22 (UPI) -- Forecasters say spring will bring a mixed bag of weather for the continental Unites States, with drought, flooding and some unseasonably warm temperatures.
The forecast was featured in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's three-month U.S. Spring Outlook released Thursday.
Above-average temperatures are likely across much of the country including drought-stricken areas of Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains, NOAA said.
Yet in areas not destined to remain dry, river flooding is expected to be worse than last year across the country, NOAA official said.
"This outlook reminds us of the climate diversity and weather extremes we experience in North America, where one state prepares for flooding while neighboring states are parched, with no drought relief in sight," Laura Furgione, deputy director of NOAA's National Weather Service, said. "We produce this outlook to help communities prepare for what's likely to come in the next few months and minimize weather's impacts on lives and livelihoods. A Weather-Ready Nation hopes for the best, but prepares for the worst."
Fifty-one percent of the continental U.S. -- primarily in the central and western regions -- is in moderate to exceptional drought, NOAA said, and drought conditions are expected to persist there while new droughts develop in California, the Southwest, the southern Rockies, Texas, and Florida.
While those regions struggle with drought, the melting of late-season snow may cause minor to moderate flooding in the upper Mississippi River basin, including southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois and northern Missouri.
Areas along the middle Mississippi, lower Missouri and Ohio River basins the threat of minor flooding will continue through the spring, forecasters said.