February to April Outlook has Warmth in the West Jan 17, 2019

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued their new 90 day forecast, covering February to April. Warmer than average temperatures are expected in most of the West, with colder than normal weather for the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. The Ohio Valley and Northwest are expected to see drier than average weather, with above normal precipitation in the Southeast and near the Four Corners.

With drier weather forecast for most of the West, drought conditions are expected to persist or expand through April. Improvement is forecast near the Four Corners, with better precipitation chances over the next three months.

The main forecast influences were global pattern trends and long range model forecasts. An extensively discussed El Nino is underway in the Pacific Ocean, but the atmosphere has been slow to respond. The CPC has become more pessimistic on the topic, stating “it appears that any El Nino that does form will only be of nominal or weak intensity.”

Observed sea surface temperatures in the Pacific are warmer than normal as expected, with computer models expecting this to continue. Right now, the overall global pattern resembles neutral conditions.  The CPC says “in the near-term, there is no obvious indication that this long-awaited ocean-atmosphere coupling will take place before the end of boreal winter.”

Based on the latest observations and model forecasts, the CPC still indicates a 65 percent chance for El Nino from now through Spring.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels

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