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'Severe' spring weather seen for U.S.

'Severe' spring weather seen for U.S.
Fallen tree limbs and downed power lines are seen in the aftermath of strong early morning thunderstorms that left a path of destruction through the DC Metro area, Washington on August 12, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., March 3 (UPI) -- Forecasters are predicting a severe spring 2011 U.S. weather season, including the spreading of severe drought, a high wildfire danger and threats of flooding.

The spring's severe weather season will be more active than normal, with a possibility of higher-than-average numbers of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms in the eastern part of the country, Accuweather.com reported Thursday.

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Paul Pastelok of the AccuWeather.com Long-Range Forecasting Team said he is concerned about abnormally dry and warm conditions worsening a drought on the Plains and bringing high danger of wildfires from the southern Plains into the interior Southwest.

"Heat will build from West Texas through the Southwest early on, then gradually farther north and east during the second half of spring," Pastelok said.

As is the case every year, the big concern for people across the northern tier of the nation will be flooding, with melting snow and spring storms bringing more snow and rain, he said.

The combination of the two significantly increases the potential for disastrous flooding, he said, predicting areas from southern Minnesota through the Ohio River and New England would face the greatest risk for flooding.

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Colder-than-normal conditions could hang on in areas from the Pacific Northwest into the northern Plains through much of March and April, with occasional episodes of gold getting into the East through mid-March, Pastelok said.

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