The National Weather Service just released their outlook for March and spring. We have moved out of the La Niña pattern in the Pacific pattern to something called ENSO-neutral conditions this spring.That means we are between the El Niño and La Niña phases in the Pacific Ocean. Some of the predictive models are indicating a shift towards a weak El Niño by summer. That is actually good news for Illinois since we have a tendency to experience milder summer temperatures under those situations.
For March, they have Illinois in a region called “EC”, meaning that we have equal chances of being above, below, or near-normal on temperature and precipitation. Sometimes I call “EC” a neutral forecast because it does not lean one way or another.
For March-May, Illinois has an increased chance of above-normal temperatures and northern Illinois has an increased chance of above-normal precipitation.
For summer, Illinois is in the EC region for both temperature and precipitation. This is a change from earlier forecasts that showed Illinois with an increased chance of being warmer than normal this summer. Some of the forecast models do show the above-normal temperatures from spring persisting into summer.