NOAA: Winter may be warmer than average

On Philadelphia’s chilliest day in seven months feds release winter outlook

Plowing a Colorado driveway on Monday after a pre-season snowfall. Almost ’tis the season. Helen H. Richardson The Denver Post via AP

While the current spell of unseasonably cold weather might have you fearing the worst this winter, the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's outlook from December through February is anticipating a milder winter for much of the USA, according to their forecast released Thursday.

An overall mild winter is expected when it comes to temperatures, with most of the USA expected to see warmer than normal temperatures, some much warmer than normal, according to the NOAA outlook from its Climate Prediction Center.

El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing, it will likely be in place by late fall/early winter.

Winter looks wet and especially mild for much of the country, thanks to a weak El Nino brewing, USA meteorologists said.

NOAA released its 2018-2019 Winter Outlook for the United States. The greatest chance for warmer than normal winter weather is in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Montana, northern Wyoming and western North Dakota. "The last cold winter that the country saw was back in 2013-14, and I'd expect MI to probably follow that pattern".

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The organization's predictive maps placed ME in a sweeping band of orange, signifying that center forecasters believe the state is among those with a 40 percent to 50 percent chance of being "warmer than normal".

Kentucky has equal chances for both above and below average temperatures according to NOAA's outlook.

"Up in ME the forecast is actually what we call "equal chances", which means there's no tilt in those odds, so it's just as likely to be a wetter-than-normal winter as a drier-than-normal winter", says Halpert. The chances are highest in southeastern Georgia and much of northern and Central Florida. The Arctic Oscillation influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and could result in below-average temperatures in the eastern part of the U.S. The Madden-Julian Oscillation can contribute to heavy precipitation events along the West Coast - which could play a large role in shaping the upcoming winter, especially if El Nino is weak, as forecasters predict.

Meantime, drier-than-average conditions are expected for the Great Lakes and portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Plains.

As for that other big winter factor - snow - Halpert says the weather service has no prediction for Maine. He also forecasted a warm winter, heavily based on weak snowfall in Siberia. But in case you need some talking down, a new forecast from NOAA says that at the very least, it won't be a nightmare this year.

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