US forecasters say fall to extend SW drought

By the Associated Press | August 18, 2011 | 4:42 PM EDT

A sailboats high and dry at Benbrook Lake in Benbrook, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011. As the summer months and heat wears on, extreme drought conditions continue throughout the state with little chance of rain in the coming days to offer relief for this reservoir south of Fort Worth. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal weather forecasters say the country can expect more of the same weather for this fall, especially for drought-struck Texas and Oklahoma. And they urge coastal regions to be ready for a hurricane.

The three-month weather prediction sees no relief from the record Southwest drought. It also predicts warmer than normal weather for a wide swath of the country from Maine to Arizona. Only the Southeast, Northwest and California will likely be spared. That's because forecasters a La Nina system to keep rain away.

Climate Prediction Center operations chief Ed O'Lenic also says a high pressure system that has kept tropical storms away from the East has moved, making a U.S. hurricane strike more possible. The last hurricane to strike the U.S. was in 2008.