Scientist's at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook today, saying that La Nina is expected to influence winter conditions this year. The Climate Prediction Center issued a La Nina watch this month, predicting the climate phenomenon is likely to develop in late fall or early winter. A watch is issued when conditions are favorable for the development of La Niña conditions within the next six months. La Nina favors drier, warmer winters in the southern U.S and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern U.S. If La Nina conditions materialize, forecasters say it should be weak and potentially short-lived.
La Niña Criteria
- Average sea surface temperatures in the Niño-3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (5°N-5°S, 120°W-170°W) were at least 0.5°C (0.9°F) cooler than average in the preceding month.
- An average anomaly of at least -0.5°C has persisted or is expected to persist for 5 consecutive, overlapping 3-month periods.
- The atmosphere over the tropical Pacific exhibits changes commonly associated with La Niña, including one or more of the following:
- stronger than usual easterly trade winds,
- an increase in cloudiness and rainfall over Indonesia and a corresponding drop in average surface pressure,
- a decrease in cloudiness and rainfall in the eastern tropical Pacific, and an increase in the average surface pressure.
“This climate outlook provides the most likely outcome for the upcoming winter season, but it also provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it’s a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards, such as extreme cold and snowstorms,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter.”
The 2016 U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February):
- Wetter than normal conditions are most likely in the northern Rockies, around the Great Lakes, in Hawaii and in western Alaska
- Drier than normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S. and southern Alaska.
- In the Ohio Valley, we are cut up into two parts. Our NE counties are in >33% likelihood for a wetter than normal winter. The rest of our viewing area is in the equal chance category meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation.
Here is a closer look at our area and the winter forecast for precipitation.
- Warmer than normal conditions are most likely across the southern U.S., extending northward through the central Rockies and Ohio Valley, in Hawaii, in western and northern Alaska and in northern New England.
- Cooler conditions are most likely across the northern tier from Montana to western Michigan.
- The rest of the country falls into the “equal chance” category, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation.
Here is a closer look at our area and the winter forecast for temperature.
Video Courtesy: NOAAClimate.gov
Something to Note*
This seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms may hit or provide total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. All the outlook tells us is possible trends for the months to come. For example, La Nina winters tend to favor above average snowfall around the Great Lakes and in the northern Rockies and below average snowfall in the mid-Atlantic.
NOAA produces seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for what's likely to come in the next few months and minimize weather's impacts on lives and livelihoods. At this point of the year, we should be starting to think about winter and preparing for some cold and snowy days!
Craving for more information? You can find it here.
Marc and Rick will both be discussing their thoughts on the outlook on WDRB News this evening. Plus, now that a cold front has swept through the area, we will have MUCH cooler air by tonight and tomorrow. Be sure to join them to get all the details!
I will see you on WDRB News at 11:30 am Friday morning. Until then we can connect on social media! The links to my pages are below.