During the past month, sea-surface temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific Ocean have not changed very much and are still running slightly cooler than average throughout much of the west-central and eastern Pacific. The latest long-range climate models indicate that this current La Nina will likely persist through at least early spring. By late spring into early summer, this La Nina phase may begin to transition into more of a neutral phase.
As for the March temperature outlook, slightly below normal temperatures are forecast across parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. A surplus of monthly heating degree days of between 30 and 60 is projected. Monthly energy costs with respect to heating will also likely be slightly higher than average in these regions of the country.
In contrast, temperatures are predicted to be slightly above normal throughout portions of the Desert Southwest, southern Rockies, west-central Texas, and the Southeast. A deficit of monthly heating degree days of between 20 and 60 along with lower energy costs with respect to heating is anticipated across these regions during the month of March. Much of the Northeast, Great Lakes, Midwest, and north-central Plains will see temperatures average closer to normal.