NOAA Winter Outlook: Warmer for Many, Wetter North

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17 Oct 2019 8:30 AM

Warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for much of the U.S. this winter according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC). On Thursday, the CPC issued their winter seasonal outlook, which extends from December through February. Wetter-than-average weather is most likely across the Northern Tier of the U.S. during winter.

While an El Nino climate pattern often influences the winter, neutral conditions are in place this year and expected to persist into the spring. In the absence of El Nino or La Nina, long-term trends and model projections become a key predictor for the outlook. Other climate patterns, such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation (AO), will likely play a larger role in determining winter weather. For example, the AO influences the number of arctic air masses that intrude into the U.S., but its predictability is limited to a couple weeks.

“Without either El Nino or La Nina conditions, short-term climate patterns like the Arctic Oscillation will drive winter weather and could result in large swings in temperature and precipitation,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

This spring saw significant and historic flooding across the central U.S. that impacted nearly 17 million people. However, during the summer and early fall, drought rapidly developed across much of the South, with drought conditions now present across approximately 20% of the country.

The 2019-20 U.S. Winter Outlook | December through February


  • The greatest likelihood for warmer-than-normal conditions are in Alaska and Hawaii, with more modest probabilities for above-average temperatures spanning large parts of the remaining lower 48 from the West across the South and up the eastern seaboard.

  • The Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, and the western Great Lakes have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.

  • No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures this winter.


  • Wetter-than-average conditions are most likely in Alaska and Hawaii this winter, along with portions of the Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes and parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

  • Drier-than-average conditions are most likely for Louisiana, parts of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well areas of northern and central California.

  • The remainder of the U.S. falls into the category of equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average precipitation.


  • Abnormally dry conditions are present across much of the Southern U.S., with areas of the most severe drought in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, central Texas and parts of the Southeast.

  • Drought is expected to improve in portions of the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Alaska and Hawaii, while persisting in central Texas and the Southwest.

  • Drought development is expected to occur in parts of central California.

Here's more from the Climate Prediction Center outlook     All info above is from NOAA  

Get "Winter Ready"

Regardless of a milder winter expected, it's important to remember that cold snaps will likely still occur, and that doesn't mean storms will be rainy. Expect that intense winter storms can still occur, and variation from day to day, and week to week will happen. The outlook is an expectancy for the overall winter, no necessarily day to day forecasts. Learn more about how to get your home ready for winter in our recent  Tip of The Week (click to read story). Make sure your car is ready, too! Here are some tips on how to, from WeatherNation's John Van Pelt     As colder weather sets in, be sure to pay extra attention to your pets needs. Senior citizens are also more vulnerable to cold weather. Check in with elderly neighbors and make sure they are also ready for the winter ahead. Visit NOAA's winter safety page to get ready for the season ahead. See more helpful tips from the American Red Cross on preparing for winter here.    
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