Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Forecasters unveil weather outlook for upcoming winter across US

Forecasters unveil weather outlook for upcoming winter across US

"From about, maybe NY and northward, that's all above a 40 percent confidence, so that's between a 40 and 50 percent chance that temperatures will be above average", says Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Maryland.

Much of the state has at least a 33 percent chance of a warmer than normal season, with areas nearer the northwest corner of Kansas having at least a 40 percent chance of a warmer season, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said in a news release.

The Climate Prediction Center issues updates its 3-month outlooks once per month, NOAA said, and the next update for this winter is expected November 15.

A weak El Niño, described by NOAA as a warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean, is likely to occur this winter, which may contribute to increased precipitation in the southern United States and parts of the East Coast, according to NOAA.

"Up in ME the forecast is actually what we call "equal chances", which means there's no tilt in those odds, so it's just as likely to be a wetter-than-normal winter as a drier-than-normal winter", says Halpert. During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the USA can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North.

Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the US, and up into the Mid-Atlantic.

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Drought conditions are most likely across the Southwest, Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains, and parts of the interior Pacific Northwest.

Precipitation is expected to be above normal across the southern tier of the United States, extending up into the Mid-Atlantic. That is less than last year's snowfall, but more than winter 2017. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter.

Along with Michigan, Halper said northern Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin are expected to be drier than normal, along with parts of Idaho, Hawaii and Montana, too.

NOAA's seasonal outlooks give the likelihood that temperatures and precipitation will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are expected to change, but the outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations.

Farmer's Almanac Editor Peter Geiger said in late August his publication predicts "a very long, cold and snow-filled winter".

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