WASHINGTON - Government forecasters say much of the United States can expect a warm spring and persistent drought.

The National Weather Service said Thursday above-normal temperatures are predicted across most of the lower 48 states and northern Alaska.

The forecast also calls for little relief for the drought-stricken Midwest and Southwest. Currently, half the country is experiencing moderate to exceptional drought. According to the U.S Drought Monitor report released Thursday, all of Minnesota is currently under moderate, severe or extreme drought conditions. The new National Weather Service report does indicate that drought conditions are likely to improve for Minnesota during the spring.

At the same time, late snowmelt will bring a threat of river flooding along the upper Mississippi. North Dakota is at the most risk of flooding from the Red River. The major and moderate flood risk also extends into northwestern Minnesota.

A cooler spring is predicted for the Pacific Northwest and northern Great Plains. Drier-than-normal conditions are on tap for the West and Gulf Coast. Hawaii is expected to be cooler and drier than usual.

The spring outlook covers April, May and June.

Click herefor the complete National Weather Service report.

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