Friday, 16 November, 2018

Wet and mild: Warm winter predicted for much of the U.S.

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Doris Mccormick | 20 October, 2018, 11:27

"From about, maybe NY and northward, that's all above a 40 percent confidence, so that's between a 40 and 50 percent chance that temperatures will be above average", says Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Maryland.

Around 75 percent of the United States is more likely to be warmer than average, and no part of the U.S.is favored to see below-average temperatures for the winter, NOAA added.

"We're expecting this El Nino to be much weaker than that one", Halpert said. 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.

The outlook is also predicting it won't be an unusually wet winter for New England. Due to this, above-average temperatures look likely for the northern and western United States, Alaska and Hawaii. The Arctic Oscillation influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and could result in below-average temperatures in the eastern part of the U.S. The Madden-Julian Oscillation can contribute to heavy precipitation events along the West Coast - which could play a large role in shaping the upcoming winter, especially if El Nino is weak, as forecasters predict. On Thursday, NOAA released their annual 2018-19 Winter Outlook.

But North and SC, along with much of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley, "all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures", NOAA said.

No place in the U.S.is expected to experience cooler-than-average temperatures, according to NOAA.

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Precipitation is expected to be above normal across the southern tier of the USA, extending up into the Mid-Atlantic.

Drought conditions are likely to persist across portions of the Southwest, Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains and portions of the interior Pacific Northwest.

With the Southeast the only region not projected to have above-normal temperatures, that could mean a few winter storms will bring snow to the Deep South, which can cause major disruption to the region. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter.

For those looking for snowfall projections, you won't find those in NOAA's winter outlook. This change in sea surface temperature has a wide range of effects on seasonal weather patterns across the globe, but in the US, an El Niño typically means warmer winter temperatures, and higher levels of precipitation in certain regions of the country.

The next update from NOAA will come mid-November.

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