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Official U.S. 2017 Summer Forecast: Precipitation and Temperature Outlook.
2017 U.S. Summer Forecast | Precipitation and Temperature Outlook

Summer Forecast: What this season has in store for you

Dr. Doug Gillham
Meteorologist, PhD

Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 4:48 - How will a developing weak El Niño impact summer weather patterns across the United States? We have all the details below in The Weather Network’s 2017 Summer Forecast, which covers the remainder of June, July, and August.

(Editor's note: This article was originally published on May 24, 2017 as part of The Weather Network's Summer Forecast launch. It has been updated to reflect.)

Following a volatile spring, an active and changeable pattern is expected to continue into the summer months. Such patterns during the summer help to reduce the threat for widespread or prolonged drought and as such our forecast has most of the country with near or above normal rainfall for the summer.

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Keep in mind, though, that summer precipitation is notorious for being highly variable over short distances and it is inevitable that localized areas will miss out the showers and thunderstorms that occur in surrounding areas. Also, it is normal to have periods of dry weather during the summer. 

While most of the country will see near normal or warmer than normal temperatures during the summer, a changeable pattern helps to reduce the threat for extended periods of excessive heat, especially between the Rockies and the Appalachians. 

The heat will be most persistent west of the Rockies, east of the Appalachians, and along the Gulf Coast. The Heartland will be more vulnerable to periods of cooler weather. Back and forth temperature swings will lead to near normal temperatures for most of the region, but near to slightly cooler than normal temperatures are expected for the Upper Midwest and possibly parts of the central Plains.

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That is a quick overview of the nation. Here are more specifics for each region across the country.


In California, lush vegetation has flourished after a winter that featured record rain and snowfall. But as we enter the typical dry season, this will provide extra fuel for this year’s wildfires. Across the Intermountain West, occasional surges of subtropical moisture will bring numerous showers and thunderstorms for parts of the interior West, leading to above normal precipitation from the Four Corners northward to the Canadian border.


This region had contrasting rainfall patterns during the spring with wet weather in the west and dry conditions across Georgia and Florida and a similar pattern is expected through the summer. A wet pattern is expected to continue near the Lower Mississippi Valley. Meanwhile, despite some drought relief during the second half of May, we expect that a heightened threat for wildfires will return during the summer for Georgia and Florida. Despite the predominately dry pattern near the Atlantic Coast, there is also the potential for meaningful drought relief during the season from a tropical system.

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A warm summer is expected, but not nearly as hot nor as dry as last year. More humidity and a stormier pattern is expected to bring near normal rainfall across much of the region, with the greatest chance for above normal rainfall west of the Appalachians.


Near normal temperatures are expected across most of the region, but occasional bouts of cooler weather could tip the balance to below normal for parts of the Upper Midwest. Near to above normal precipitation is expected across the region with the highest potential for wetter and stormier conditions from the Great Lakes south to the Ohio Valley.

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