March 20, 2019

NOAA releases 2018-19 Winter Outlook

20 October 2018, 11:27 | Dale Webster

Plowing a Colorado driveway on Monday after a pre-season snowfall. Almost ’tis the season. Helen H. Richardson The Denver Post via AP

On Philadelphia’s chilliest day in seven months feds release winter outlook

During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the US can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North.

The El Nino hasn't quite formed yet, but it's nearly warm enough. 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.

El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing, it will likely be in place by late fall/early winter.

Another factor in the forecast, Halper said, is long-term warming from human-caused climate change.

There's a lot more than just an El Nino pattern that determines how winter will play out.

The Southeast, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic can go any way on temperature, Halpert said. The Pacific Northwest, in particular, has high odds of a mild winter.

No part of the United States is expected to have below-average temperatures, according to the outlook.

Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group, which specializes in long-range prediction, agreed with the broad strokes of NOAA's outlook but said its temperature forecast was "conservative" in the East and that he would lean toward colder conditions. This change in sea surface temperature has a wide range of effects on seasonal weather patterns across the globe, but in the USA, an El Niño typically means warmer winter temperatures, and higher levels of precipitation in certain regions of the country. On Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, the National Weather Service forecasted a warmer than normal 2018-2019 winter for the northern and western three-quarters of the U.S.

Two winters ago was practically the winter without a winter. Weather experts predict a warmer than normal winter in Kansas.

The winter before that, 2015-2016, was the warmest on record for the Lower 48, despite the big snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic.

How confident should you be in this outlook?

The NOAA prediction has contradicted the Farmer's Almanac prediction, which said the winter will be harsh this season.

The outlook does not include seasonal snowfall accumulations, but it is being predicted that New England, similar to last year's forecast, has an equal chance of seeing above, near, or below normal precipitation.

NOAA's winter forecast comes as the mercury is finally beginning to dip across most of the country after a summer that lasted well into October in the eastern United States, with temperatures into the 80s and even 90s.

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