Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, but it may not mark the beginning of summer weather for much of the United States. Thanks to the global climate emergency, we live in the age of extreme weather and shifting climates.
Here’s how summer weather predictions are shaping up for regions around the country:
- Midwest: This region has already been hammered by heavy storms and tornadoes, including a deadly one that tore through Jefferson City, Missouri, on Wednesday. And the wild weather is not expected to stop this weekend or this summer. AccuWeather says severe weather will disrupt the barbecue-and-beach plans of millions of Americans traveling for Memorial Day. According to NOAA, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are expected in the Plains, while the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest should prepare for powerful thunderstorms during part of the holiday weekend.
- West: According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this summer should be a hot one for the western half of the country, with hotter-than-normal and drier-than-normal summer temperatures up and down the Pacific Coast. Weather.com and AccuWeather agree with this prediction, saying the Northwest and the Rockies will have a warmer-than-normal season. That is bad news for the communities still trying to recover from the wildfires that devastated the West (and the world) last year. Adding to the warmer-than-average weather, El Niño, a factor used to determine the summer outlook, has a 65% chance of continuing through the summer months.
- South: Across the South, including popular summer destinations like Florida beaches and the Carolina coast, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts more rain and cooler temperatures. That said, Weather.com says it will be hotter-than-average there, so do your best shrug emoji while you wait and see. The Deep South, though, should prepare for potential flooding after a rainier than average season.
- Northeast: Weather.com, the Farmer’s Almanac, and Accuweather agree that the Northeast, Midwest, and Great Lakes should brace themselves for above-average temperatures. Expect many 90- degree-and-above days leading to minor drought conditions.
- Alaska and Hawaii: Finally, if there are any climate change skeptics left in your house, perhaps point out that summer temperatures in Alaska are expected to be warmer and drier than normal, while Hawaii is likely to be cooler and wetter.
In other news, NOAA predicts a “near normal” hurricane season this year, with only “a 70% chance of nine to 15 named storms” during the season, which officially stretches from June 1 to November 30. As to what “normal” is these days, that’s still TBD, because, according to a study reported by The New York Times, it takes just two to eight years for extreme weather to feel completely normal.