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In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, 2019, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center predicts above-average temperatures throughout much of the U.S.

Additionally, El Niño, an ocean-atmospheric climate interaction linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing.

“We expect El Niño to be in place in late fall to early winter,” says Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Although a weak El Niño 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.”

According to NOAA, other climate patterns that can affect weather, such as the Arctic Oscillation and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, are challenging to predict.

Here is a rundown of NOAA’s prediction for December through February:

  • Warmer-than-normal temperatures are anticipated in the northern and western U.S., while the Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances of below-, near- or above average temperatures. No region is predicted to have below-average temperatures, NOAA says.
  • Wetter-than-average conditions are expected across the southern U.S. and the Mid-Atlantic. Drier-than-average conditions are predicted in the Great Lakes region and in the northern Rockies and Plains.
  • Drought conditions are likely to continue in the Southwest, affecting Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains and portions of the interior Pacific Northwest, according to NOAA. Drought conditions in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, the coastal Pacific Northwest and the Central Plains are expected to improve.

*Video courtesy of NOAA

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