NOAA: Winter may be warmer than average

Pat Wise
October 21, 2018

"Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance".

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.

The Southeast, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic can go any which way on temperature, Halpert said.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service think much of the USA will have a warmer-and wetter-winter than normal. "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".

Halpert said this El Nino is likely to be a weak one.

Overall the winter looks a lot like the last few, Halpert said.

Meanwhile, the southern-third of the US and much of the East Coast could be hunkering down for a wetter than normal December through January.

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Above-average rainfall is most likely northern Florida and southern Georgia this winter.

From December to February the temperature is above average (for this period) is expected in the Western, southeastern, Central and northwestern States, as well as in Hawaii and even in Alaska.

The middle belt of the nation, and some of the north from California to NY, can go any which way on precipitation.

Snowfall on Sunday night set two National Weather Service records in Wichita.

The reason behind the milder-than-normal winter is the developing El Nino, which is when the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean has warmer-than-normal surface water.

El Nino tends to generate an active subtropical jet stream that would hike precipitation across the southern half of the country, including in Southern California, where beneficial rains could swiftly morph into threatening flooding and mudslides. Meteorologists predict there's a 75 percent chance it'll be around this winter. 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.

"All things being equal, the slight kick we get out of the climate signal does tilt things toward the warm side", Halpert said; cautioning, however, that that's not enough to outweigh other factors if they push toward cold.

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