LOS ANGELES (AP) -
The first day of spring? Some people in Maine were shoveling 6 inches of new
snow. And in Michigan, college students couldn’t even burn a snowman.
OK, so it was a
fake snowman. But it was real snow that got in the way.
For many Americans,
it feels like winter is hanging on like a bad cold.
And now government
forecasters are predicting a cooler-than-usual spring across the northern
U.S. Even just next week, frigid Arctic air is expected to blanket parts of
"This is one of
those winters - the gift that keeps on giving,” said Jon Gottschalck of the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The stubborn cold
is delaying any flooding into April in the upper Midwest to New England.
While major flooding is not expected during the next three months,
forecasters said the greatest threat exists in the southern Great Lakes
because of above-normal snowpack, thick ice on streams and rivers, and snow
on the ground.
Experts warned of
possible isolated flooding in certain areas depending on how fast snow melts
and how much rain falls.
After a miserable
winter, residents in parts of Maine dug out again on the first day of
spring. The snowfall knocked out power to some.
“I’m just looking
forward to not bundling up,” said 33-year-old Rich Maggi, while taking a
smoke break in the downtown Portland area where the snow had melted by
midday. “I think this was hard on even the most winter-hardened people.”
weather forced a Michigan university to delay a yearly rite of spring - the
burning of a fake snowman - after the campus was blanketed with 5 inches of
snow overnight on top of knee-deep drifts.
Officials at Lake
Superior State University in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula near the Canadian
border said the snow and high winds raised safety concerns, and the ceremony
was moved to Friday.
The snowman stuffed
with shredded paper usually is dubbed Frosty. But this one was named Polar
Vortex after the frigid air mass that punished the East Coast and Midwest
this winter and pushed cold into the South.
Since the snowman
is usually lit with a propane torch, “you’ve got sparks flying, and we don’t
need anybody to get a hole burned in a coat or worse,” said university
spokesman Tom Pink.
disappointed but others preferred waiting until Friday “when it’s supposed
to be sunny - at least a little like spring,” he said.
In the West,
parched conditions that have gripped California and the Southwest will
continue with little relief, the federal government reported in its annual
spring outlook. If the drought persists, it’ll likely lead to a busy
California is in
its third consecutive dry year, forcing some rural communities to ration
water and farmers to sell their cattle.
we see little improvement unfortunately in some of the most impacted drought
areas,” said Gottschalck, acting operations chief at NOAA’s Climate
rainfall and snowfall coupled with the upcoming dry season could cause parts
of Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas to develop drought conditions, he
While the northern
U.S. could see below-normal temperatures, forecasters said it is likely to
be warmer than usual along the West Coast, across the southern portion of
the country and in Alaska.
The spring outlook
comes after NOAA and many private weather forecast companies predicted equal
chances for unusual warmth, cold, snow, rain and even average weather for
the winter due to lack of certain global weather factors.
NOAA’s Mike Halpert
said the weather-weary nation is ready for a change.
“After a memorable
winter I suspect most of us are ready for spring,” he said in a NOAA video.