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A Strange Spring

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We’ve had a few letters from readers this month, asking us what’s going on with the weather. We’ve seen a very active tornado season, flooding in the southeast, a drought in Texas, and wet, chilly weather in the northeast.

Many of you, understandably, want to know what’s going on. Is it global warming? Is it La Niña? Will these conditions continue through the summer?

I don’t know if we can judge one single anomalous season on La Niña. We have had other La Niñas before. This year’s La Niña has been the strongest since 1955-56, but I don’t recall that season being overly unusual in terms of severe weather. So the argument for a La Niña/severe weather connection is, I think somewhat weak.

The truth of the matter is that May 2011 has had a split personality. The final days of April on into almost the middle of May were unusually dry and clear across much of the nation; in New York City, there was measurable precipitation on only two out of 17 days. Nobody was complaining about the weather then (except the windy/dry weather was blowing around a lot of pollen and leading people to complain about allergies).

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Now, with 10-straight days of measurable precipitation in many areas, people are upset. No pollen problems anymore, but simply too wet!

And the unusually quiet weather pattern over the nation’s heartland a few weeks ago has now been broken by an incredibly active period of severe weather.

I think Mother Nature is simply balancing the checkbook. If you’re going through an unusually period of dry and tranquil weather, expect to pay for it later with a period of wet and active weather. That’s what I think we’re doing now; paying for the protracted spell of nice weather we had just a few weeks ago. (Although it now seems like it was a few months ago!)

As for the summer, we released our summer outlook a few weeks ago, and you can read more detailed predictions for your region on our long range forecast.

What do you think? Has the weather been exceptionally unusual in your neck of the woods? What do you think is responsible?

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