NWS Outlook: Winter could go either way in Mountain State

Clark Diaz
October 22, 2018

Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert said in a statement a "weak El Nino" could bring "warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North". Meteorologists predict theres a 75 percent chance itll be around this winter.

Temperatures are not expected to dip below average anywhere in the country from December to February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced Thursday in its "Winter Outlook".

The Southeast, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic can go any which way. It's also worth noting that the forecasters base their predictions on probability and don't say how much precipitation the US will get or how hot temperatures will be.

Farmer's Almanac Editor Peter Geiger said in late August his publication predicts "a very long, cold and snow-filled winter". This video below explains El Nino further and provides greater details about NOAA's winter outlook.

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Halpert says Maine's winter may yet be affected by warming equatorial ocean temperatures in the Pacific, known as El Niño.

Halpert said the track record of winter outlooks is better than that of outlooks for other seasons, or about 40 percent better than the flip of a coin - good enough for people to be able to utilize the outlooks.

Much of the north and west parts of the country - especially Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains - are set to see warmer-than-normal conditions, NOAA said. 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. No place in the U.S.is expected to experience cooler-than-average temperatures, according to NOAA. The chances are highest in southeastern Georgia and much of northern and central Florida. "Typically it's just going to be oscillating through the course of the winter".

Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across much of the northern and western US, with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains.

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Overall, however, the western half of the country experienced warmer-than-average temperatures while the eastern half received the colder air.

Meantime, drier-than-average conditions are expected for the Great Lakes and portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Plains.

The next update from NOAA will come mid-November.

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