The spring months in the ArkLaTex turned out to be slightly cooler and wetter than normal. If you read my spring and winter outlooks, then you remember that I based that outlook on current ocean conditions in the Atlantic and Pacific with some success. Before discussing what I expect based on the latest ocean data, let's give a look at the latest summer outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.
The map above on the left is the CPC outlook for temperature which shows that temperatures should could end up above normal. The map on the right shows that the CPC expects the dry conditions for the next few months with slightly below normal rainfall for most of the ArkLaTex.
An analysis of ocean data indicates that conditions this May were similar to what they were in May of 1978, 1980, 1981, and 1984. Since oceans play a decent role in determining the prominent weather pattern that we experience, we can look back at data for those four years to give us guidance on temperatures, rainfall and severity of the upcoming hurricane season. The map above at the left shows slightly below normal rainfall for much of the area with the driest conditions over Northwest Louisiana. Three month rainfall totals could be anywhere from one to three inches below normal. This is pretty much in agreement with the CPC outlook. The good news is that while we can expect a rainfall deficit, it likely won't be enough to produce significant drought condidtions. This agrees with the CPC Seasonal Drought Outlook which shows drought conditions possibly developing only over the extreme southern part of our area. The map above at right agrees with the CPC forecast for above normal temperatures. The good news is that if conditions match those experienced in the years above, then the surplus of heat will be rather small. Average temperatures should average .5 to 1.5 degrees above normal with the warmest conditions over the McCurtain county.
Below is the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center regarding the severity of the 2014 hurricane season. NHC is calling for an average or slightly below average year with 8-13 named storms, 3-6 hurricanes and 1-2 major hurricanes. The hurricane seasons from 1978, 1980, 1981, and 1984 were similar to the NHC projection. Those years witnessed 11-13 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 1-3 major hurricanes. All four of the above years saw TWO named storms that made landfall on the US coast. It doesn't appear as if there is a significant correlation that can be drawn from the WHERE the storms may strike. Two of years saw storms strike the gulf coast and two of the years saw storms strike Florida or the east coast.
The Climate Prediction Center indicates that the ArkLatex should see a slightly hotter and drier than normal summer. After comparing ocean conditions from May of this year to years of the past, we could see conditons similar to the summers of 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1984. Consequently, my outlook for temperature this summer is in line with the CPC. Temperatures should average about 0.5 to 1.5 degrees above normal. My outlook for summer rainfall also agrees with the drier than normal CPC outlook with rainfall totals that could be 1 to 3" below normal for the entire summer. Given the slightly above normal rainfall that we received during the spring months, it appears that the chance that drought conditions will develop is somewhat small. Based on current ocean conditions, I feel that the number of named storms this hurricane season will be in the upper end of the NHC forecast with 11-13 named storms. All four years mentioned above saw TWO storms strike the United States. However, I couldn't draw a conclusion as to where any tropical systems would strike the US coast. Enjoy your summer!! See you in a couple of months with the outlook for Winter 2014-15.