NOAA: Winter outlook favors warmer temperatures for much of US

(Associated Press)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says much of the United States could be in for a mild winter.

NOAA's prediction contradicts the Farmer's Almanac prediction, which says we'll have a whopper of a winter.

In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, above-average temperatures are most likely across the northern and western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii, NOAA wrote in their release Thursday.

They said El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing.

"We expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter," said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. "Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North."

Other climate patterns that can affect winter weather are challenging to predict on a seasonal time scale, NOAA said.

The 2018 U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February):

  • Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across much of the northern and western U.S., with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains.
  • The Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.
  • No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures.


  • Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the U.S., and up into the Mid-Atlantic. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation this winter.
  • Drier-than-average conditions are most likely in parts of the northern Rockies and Northern Plains, as well as in the Great Lakes and northern Ohio Valley.


  • Drought conditions are likely to persist across portions of the Southwest, Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains and portions of the interior Pacific Northwest.
  • Drought conditions are anticipated to improve in areas throughout Arizona and New Mexico, southern sections of Utah and Colorado, the coastal Pacific Northwest and the Central Plains.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. The next update will be available on Nov. 15.

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