The National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued its extended weather forecasts. The outlook for March calls for above-normal temps across the bulk of the Corn Belt and the Central and Southern Plains, along with above-normal precip in Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and the entire eastern Corn Belt. Below-normal precip is expected in the Southwest, Southeast, as well as western Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle area.
The 90-day outlook is similar, although the area of above-normal temps is more expanded to include the four-corners region. But key is that the forecast includes the possibility of above-normal precip for much of Iowa and the eastern Corn Belt. Although Nebraska and across the Plains are expected to see a mix of below-normal precip and "no forecast" which means chances are equal for above-, below- or normal precip.
In its Seasonal Drought Outlook, the CPC says because patterns are in flux, few locations are markedly wet or dry for the March to May timeframe as a whole compared to other times of the year. "Distributed evenly, 25% of annual precipitation would fall during a three-month period. In the north-central Rockies and central Plains, 30% to 40% of yearly precipitation falls on average during spring, mainly due to the wet May," it states. "Meanwhile, spring historically delivers less than 20% of the annual total to the Florida peninsula and the southern Rockies. Southern sections of Arizona and New Mexico receive only about 2% of their annual total during spring."
The Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for some improvement to the drought across the central Corn Belt, while drought is expected to persist from Nebraska southward and across the Southwest.
Check the following links for maps of forecasts: