For the 28th consecutive year, Art Douglas, Creighton University, presented his Cattle-Fax weather predictions for spring and summer 2005.

Douglas says things are looking better for areas of the U.S. suffering from drought in 2004.

“The drought area should shrink because of good precipitation coming in off Hawaii,” he says.

Looking to the spring and summer, Douglas predicts the temperature will remain 1-1.5° higher than normal throughout the Midwest and into the Northeast. The Southwest should see temps about 0.5° above normal.

“Getting into April and May though, it's likely to turn cooler and wetter for most of the Midwest, just like last year,” he says.

His precipitation forecasts call for normal to above normal rainfall, with areas in eastern Montana and North Dakota seeing some lingering dryness.

Summer temperature conditions should be above normal in the East and below normal in the West. This is typical of what to expect with a developing drought pattern coming into the U.S., he says.

“Expect dryness developing under the warm temperatures out of Arkansas, Mississippi, up through the Tennessee Valley and into the Northeast,” Douglas says.

Overall, he says the outlook shows good spring conditions, warmer than normal temperatures and adequate precipitation going into summer.