By Jim Noel, National Weather Service
What does history say might be in store for the 2013 spring growing season?
Historic data such as big U.S. droughts like the 2012 drought or sunspot peaks suggest a slightly colder and wetter spring in the Ohio Valley including Indiana and Ohio. Those same historic indicators also suggested a slightly warmer and wetter winter along with near normal snowfall. That is exactly how winter came out and what the National Weather Service called for.
At the same time our climate models suggest a slightly warmer March to May period with precipitation not far from normal. The main message this spring growing season is most of our data does not suggest the record wet 2011 or record dry 2012 or the record heat of 2012. Most data suggest closer to either side of normal. Therefore, the outlook for the spring growing season is for temperatures to go from colder than normal in March and early April to slightly warmer than normal by May.
At the same time rainfall will likely be close to or slightly wetter than normal. Originally in winter it looked like spring would be slightly warmer and slightly wetter than normal. The main change is the first half of spring looks continued chilly. There is increased risked of some later freezes this spring especially compared to 2012. In the shorter-term, after an early week rainfall of 0.25 to 1 inch on average in the state of Ohio, it will turn colder than normal again with only some very light precipitation. There will likely be another weak system this weekend with a slightly stronger rain system mid or late next week.