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SOUTHWEST AND SOUTHEAST STATES CAN EXPECT DROUGHT THIS SUMMER

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The Southeastern states and the desert Southwest may be blistered by droughts this summer, the National Weather Service's long-range forecasters say. But the Midwest should have a cool, wet summer that will produce excellent crops.

"As yet, the summer weather pattern hasn't locked, but it will in a couple of weeks," said meteorologist A. James Wagner.The biggest worry during June, July and August is a drought that may parch the East and Gulf Coast states from New York City to New Orleans and inland areas from Ohio to Alabama.

This entire area will be hotter and drier than normal, Wagner warned. The heat and dryness may roast Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, southern Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, eastern Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The drought probably will be centered in Georgia, the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

"There probably will be a lot of unhappy cotton, peanut and tobacco farmers in the Southeast," Wagner said.

The desert Southwest's drought probably will cause forest fires in Arizona, Southern California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, the forecast indicated.

"The Southwest has been hotter than normal for the past month, and that warm pattern will continue all summer," Wagner added.

The long-range forecasters anticipate hotter than normal temperatures in central and northern California, Idaho, western Montana, Oregon and Washington. Texans should expect a long, hot summer with skimpy rainfall.

In contrast, Midwesterners probably will enjoy cool temperatures and wandering thundershowers. The below-normal temperatures and ample rainfall will be centered in Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin and may extend into the western Great Lakes basin, Central Plains and the central and northern Rockies.

The Midwest's forecast does not have another outburst of the destructive flooding.