The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's latest temperature outlook issued Feb. 15 indicates that there is a 40% or better chance that above-normal temperatures will prevail across most of the Northeast, the Southeast, Texas and parts of the West Coast from March through May.
Southern Texas and much of the Southwest have the highest chance of seeing above-average temperatures through the period. The Midwest, regions of the Northwest and the north-central U.S. have the greatest chance of experiencing average to below-normal conditions from February to April.
The agency's forecast is also calling for above-normal precipitation for much of the Northeast, regions of the Midwest, the north-central U.S. and the Pacific Northwest from March through May. Below-average precipitation levels are eyed for areas of the Southeast, the south-central U.S., Texas and the Southwest through May.
La Niña is likely to affect temperature and precipitation across much of the United States during the next few months. Recently updated forecasts from NOAA are calling for a 55% chance that La Niña conditions will decay and transition to neutral conditions over the next three months.
Defined by cooler sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, La Niña is the counterpart to El Niño and typically brings more supportive fundamentals for U.S. natural gas and electricity markets, including a higher probability of colder winters, hotter summers and increased tropical activity in the Atlantic basin.