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VIDEO: Winter Weather Outlook: What You Can Expect

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its annual winter weather outlook for the 2014-2015 season and it isn’t good news for drought-stricken California.

At present, nearly 60 percent of the Golden State is classified as being under “exceptional drought” conditions — the most dire ranking. And the CPC thinks, for most of California, this historic drought is likely to persist or even worsen slightly. The only bight spot may be for parts of Southern California, including the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego. A sightly wetter-than-average is expected in these areas. That said, Southern California isn’t the epicenter of drought, it’s further north in the Central Valley and points westward.

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Any appreciable change in the status of the California drought will be highly dependent on the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

“Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely. While we’re predicting at least a two-in-three chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Across much of the western one-third of the Continental U.S. people can expect a milder-than-average winter. The Pacific Northwest and California will have the greatest chance of seeing abnormally warm temperatures.

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Drier conditions are also expected in the Pacific Northwest and northern sections of the Intermountain West.

The Northeast, which was pummeled with brutal cold and blinding snowstorms, is also likely to have a warmer-than-average winter. New England will have the highest chance of milder weather this winter. Although, it’s unlikely Bostonians will be sipping frosty beverages while sail boating around Boston Harbor, in the middle of January.

The Great Lakes regions, which also saw it’s fair share of bitterly cold air and snow-producing Alberta Clippers, is forecast to have a drier-than-average winter. This could potentially impact overall snowpack in the region.

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Where might the cooler-than-average temperatures be? You’ll have too look further south, as in the Deep South. From the Florida Panhandle to the Big Bend of Texas unseasonably cool weather looks likely. Does that mean more snow for these areas? Not necessarily, NOAA isn’t expecting cold outbreaks as robust as last year. You’ll remember at least two of those cold outbreaks lead to significant winter storms in the South.

An abnormally wet winter is also expected for parts of the southern one-third of the Continental U.S.

And much like the western sections of the U.S., the entire state of Alaska is expecting warmer-than-average temperatures — especially the southern part of the state.

In the coming months, WeatherNation will be following any revisions to the CPC forecast. We’ll bring those to you as they come into our newsroom.

Meteorologist Alan Raymond

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