NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) updated their winter outlook
covering December through February. Warmer than normal weather is still anticipated across much of the northern and western U.S., with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Below average temperatures are not favored in any parts of the nation through the period.
Minimal changes were made to the precipitation forecast. Wetter than average conditions are still anticipated across the southern tier of the U.S. up into the Mid-Atlantic. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter. Below normal precipitation are most likely in the Great Lakes and northern Ohio Valley. The previous forecast issued last month
also included drier than normal weather in the northern Rockies, but this area has been removed.
Good news is found in the drought forecast for the West, especially for California where wildfires continue to burn. Significant improvement is expected throughout the winter in California with wetter than normal weather expected. Drought conditions are still anticipated to improve throughout Arizona and New Mexico, southern sections of Utah and Colorado, the coastal Pacific Northwest and the Central Plains.
The basis for much of the forecast is the anticipated El Nino this winter. The CPC states
that the Pacific Ocean is still in neutral ENSO conditions, but an El Nino Watch remains in place
as sea surface temperatures continue to warm. The CPC outlook favors El Nino this winter and spring at a greater than 70% probability through March, decreasing to near 50% by June 2019.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Mace Michaels