On October 17th, NOAA issued its December through February outlook for temperature, precipitation, and drought. Temperatures are favored to be above average across most of the western, southern, and eastern U.S., as well as in Alaska and Hawaii, with no parts favored to be colder than average.
This doesn’t mean below-average winter temperatures won’t occur. For every point on these maps, there exists the possibility that there will be a near, or above-average outcome. The maps show only the most likely category, with higher probabilities indicating greater confidence.
Wetter-than-average conditions are favored for Hawaii, Alaska, much of the Northern Plains, the Upper Mississippi and Ohio Valleys, and parts of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Below-average precipitation is favored over the western Gulf states and much of California.
The temperature and precipitation outlooks have parts of the country labeled “EC” for “equal chances,” which means there is no tilt in the odds toward any outcome.
A very warm and dry September rapidly increased drought across the Southeast, Southwest, and Texas. Improvement is likely during the next few months across the East and South, the Alaskan Panhandle, and in Hawaii. Drought is likely to continue or worsen in parts of Texas and most of the Southwest and to develop in parts of central California.
Even during a warmer-than-average winter, cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur. Stay tuned to NOAA to be weather-ready and climate-smart.