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National Weather Service: Low chances of flooding this spring, summer in Western Pa.

| Friday, March 9, 2012

A lack of heavy precipitation this winter has resulted in low chances of flooding in Western Pennsylvania this spring and summer, according to the National Weather Service.

During a flood assessment conference this morning with the weather service and the Pittsburgh District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, officials attributed the mild winter to a weak La Nina, a weather pattern characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

Temperatures in Western Pennsylvania have been above normal for the last three months, whereas last winter, both December and January were below normal.

"We're starting out above normal and will trend to more normal temperatures and dryer conditions as we move into summer," said Bill Drzal, meteorologist with the National Weather Service. Drzal said that he doesn't foresee those conditions leading to a drought.

There has been no significant impact on the region's waterways from snow packs, Drzal said.

"Last year, most of January and the late part of winter and spring was very wet," said Drzal. "This winter was very different with warmer temperatures."

While the outlook is good, Drzal did warn that predicting major weather events can be tricky.

"The biggest risk is in form of individual storms, where the scale of prediction is smaller," he said.

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