United States

Mild Winter Expected for Most of United States, NOAA Predicts

NOAA’s seasonal outlooks do not project snowfall accumulation, which generally can't be accurately predicted more than a week in advance

What to Know

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts a mild season for the majority of the United States
  • Storm Team 4 is crunching the numbers, too, and plans to unveil its Winter Outlook next month
  • NOAA also expects that El Nino will have a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing, bringing precipitation to southern states, drought in West

It looks like Mother Nature won’t be too hard on us this winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Winter Outlook unveiled Thursday. 

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center’s Winter Outlook for December through February foresees above-average temperatures as a likelihood across the northern and western parts of the United States, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

winter outlook 1
Storm Team 4

NOAA Climate Prediction Center notes that even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are likely to occur. Its seasonal outlooks do not project snowfall accumulations, though; NOAA says those typically are not predictable more than a week in advance.

Seasonal forecasts can be particularly challenging to predict, meteorologists say. Storm Team 4 is crunching the numbers as well and plans to reveal its Winter Outlook in November.

NOAA also expects that El Nino will have a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing.

El Nino is an oceanic climate interaction linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific.

During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the United States can include above-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in the North.

Winter Outlook 2
Storm Team 4

Because El Nino is foreseen as developing, NOAA predicts that northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter, while wetter-than-average conditions are also predicted for southern United States and up into the Mid-Atlantic.

While some locations will see much precipitation, others will experience drought conditions, according to researchers, who foresee this to be the case across portions of the Southwest, Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Drought conditions are anticipated to improve in areas throughout Arizona and New Mexico, parts of Utah and Colorado, as well as the coastal Pacific Northwest and Central Plains.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates its three-month outlook each month, with the next expected update scheduled for Nov. 15.

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