- Expect higher than average temperatures this winter, according to a government forecast.
- NOAA's Winter Outlook predicts three quarters of the country will have a warmer winter.
- The South and the East Coast are expected to have more precipitation than usual.
Winter is around the corner, which means are almost here too. But, sadly, snowy outdoor fun might not be at a high this year, depending on where you live. The official government weather forecast in the U.S. says it may be warmer than usual this holiday season, reports.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center released its annual on October 18, and it claims we'll see higher temperatures for most of the United States. Overall, about three quarters of the U.S. is more likely to be warmer than average than colder than average.
That's partly because of El Niño, a weather pattern linked to warming sea surface temperatures. El Niño has a 70 to 75% chance of developing this winter, bringing with it wetter weather in the South and warmer, drier weather in the North. This year, El Niño is predicted to be relatively weaker than in previous years, which means it's a little tougher to guess what will happen.
Areas assumed to be warmer than average include the Southwest, the West Coast, along the northern Plains, the Great Lakes region, Alaska and Hawaii, and the Northeast. That leaves the South, which will likely have around normal temperatures. There are no areas predicted to have lower than average temperatures this winter, though NOAA officials make it clear that doesn't mean it will never happen — just that the chances are low.
Above average precipitation is possible in parts of Alaska, throughout the Southeast and Southwest, and through the eastern seaboard. The Great Lakes, the northern Plains, and Hawaii might have lower than usual precipitation. Everywhere else is predicted to have around normal levels.
Keep in mind that weather predictions are just that — predictions — and that means they're not going to be 100% accurate. Accuweather, for one, in the South this year, and claims we're in for a cold and snowy winter too. Other forecasters, like , agree the season will be warm and wet. So take it all with a grain of salt — and make sure to stock up on gloves and hats just in case.