Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

NOAA releases the 2018-2019 Winter Outlook

NOAA releases the 2018-2019 Winter Outlook

Weak El Nino conditions favor relatively mild winter temperatures across Minnesota, the Upper Midwest and much of the rest of the country, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday in its annual winter outlook.

It also said that wetter-than-average conditions are likely across the southern part of the US, and up into the Mid-Atlantic.

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.

Eric Kurth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service's Sacramento office, said that although the north coast can expect average precipitation this winter, it will be an increase from the drier-than-average conditions of a year ago, which may help clear up some short-term drought conditions in those regions.

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

-No part of the U.S.is favored to have below-average temperatures. However, Halper said, it's not expected to be quite as strong as the El Nino that helped lead to the record warm 2015-2016 winter season.

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Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, predicts that this year's El Nino is expected to be weak, so other climate patterns that can affect winter weather are challenging to predict on a seasonal time scale. The center has given much of the Southern United States, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Chesapeake Bay, a clear chance of a wetter winter, with pockets of drought around the Dakotas and the Great Lakes. The next update will be available on November 15.

The winter, it said, will be "colder-than-normal... from the Continental Divide east through the Appalachians". Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur.

The NOAA outlook covers the months of December, January and February, when the average high temperatures in Portland are 37 degrees, 31 degrees and 35 degrees, respectively.

The outlook is also predicting it won't be an unusually wet winter for New England.

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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