Mild winter? Here’s NOAA’s 2018-2019 outlook

Katie Ramirez
October 20, 2018

Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert said in a statement a "weak El Nino" could bring "warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North".

A mild winter could be in store for much of the United States this winter according to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

Because of a likely El Nino, which is the episodic warming of the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean, NOAA favors above average amounts of precipitation along the southern tier of the United States, creeping up the East Coast through the Mid-Atlantic.

The National Weather Service on Thursday predicted a warmer than normal winter for the northern and western three-quarters of the nation.

In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, higher-than-normal temperatures are expected across the western and northern U.S., Alaska, and Hawaii. "The last cold winter that the country saw was back in 2013-14, and I'd expect MI to probably follow that pattern".

Other climate patterns that can affect winter weather are challenging to predict on a seasonal time scale.

"Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the US, and up into the Mid-Atlantic", NOAA said in a statement. They also said the El Nino will have a 70 percent to 75 percent chance of happening.

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The Climate Prediction Center's outlook seems to at least indirectly contradict the one released by the 2019 Farmers' Almanac, an annual Lewiston-based publication which uses a mathematical and astronomical formula created in 1818 to come up with long-range forecasts.

Precipitation is expected to be above normal across the southern tier of the USA, extending up into the Mid-Atlantic. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter.

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.

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.

For those looking for snowfall projections, you won't find those in NOAA's winter outlook.

NOAA will provide an update to the forecast in November.

Cold air and even some snow blanketed areas of Maine Thursday, but the National Weather Service predictions indicate that Maine might experience a milder-than-average winter.

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