Earlier this week, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center
updated their outlook for January
. The forecast continues to highlight warmer than average temperatures across the West, with an added extension into the Upper Midwest. Below normal temperatures are now expected in New England, but no longer in the Tennessee Valley
Little change was made to the precipitation forecast, with wetter than normal weather expected throughout the southern tier of the nation and below normal conditions across the north.
Good news in the drought forecast to start 2019. Conditions should continue to improve over the Southwest, with no development areas expected.
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. 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. Based on the latest observations and model forecasts, the CPC still indicates
a greater than 80 percent chance for El Nino
from January to March and 70 percent that it persists through May.
[November 2018 sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average. Graphic by NOAA Climate; data from NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Lab.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels