Published: Sat, October 20, 2018
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Forecasters unveil weather outlook for upcoming winter across US

Forecasters unveil weather outlook for upcoming winter across US

"Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North".

Above-average temperatures are likely across most northern and western states from December through February, according to the 2018-2019 Winter Outlook released by the agency's Climate Prediction Center on Thursday.

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

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

Don't reach for those hand-warmers just yet - it may be a mild winter in most of the United States this year.

"That does not mean that below average temperatures can not occur", Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

The Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.

Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, parts of Idaho, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Indiana and OH are forecast to be drier than normal, with the biggest likelihood in Hawaii, Montana and Michigan.

Зима в Соединенных Штатах обещает быть необычайно мягкой
Source NOAA

Everywhere else across the nation is favored to be warmer than normal.

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

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month.

The winter forecast hinges largely on the 75% chance that an El Niño event - characterized by warming waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean - develops in the coming months and lasts through the season, which for meteorologists begins December 1, according to NOAA.

2018-19 Winter Outlook map for temperature. Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur. Spring arrived weeks ahead of time, and Chicago basked in record 70-degree warmth in February. Weather experts predict a warmer than normal winter in Kansas.

While natural fluctuations play a significant role in the flavor of a given winter, the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is stacking the deck in favor of warm winters.

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.

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