The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released an outlook stating that this year’s winter in the US could be warmer or wetter due to the influence of El Niño, a natural ocean and weather pattern in the tropical Pacific. While El Niño typically brings wetter and cooler weather to the South and drier and warmer conditions to the North, this winter is expected to see above-average temperatures across much of the northern US.
Parts of the Northwest, Great Lakes, and Northeast have the highest likelihood of experiencing above-average temperatures. This will be a notable change for the Northwest, which had a cooler-than-average winter last year. Conversely, the Great Lakes and Northeast are forecasted to have another warm winter, following one of the warmest on record in the previous year.
Although above-average temperatures are expected, it does not mean there won’t be any cold weather. Cold spells may be less frequent and of shorter duration. However, when it comes to precipitation, the southern US is anticipated to experience above-average levels. This is good news for states like Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, which are currently dealing with intense drought conditions.
El Niño tends to shift the jet stream south, allowing storms to move across the South with increased frequency and raising the chances of precipitation. The southern cities that typically receive minimal snowfall during winter, such as Lubbock, Texas, and Little Rock, Arkansas, may see an increase in snow amounts.
The mid-Atlantic and far southern New England regions are also likely to see more precipitation than normal, particularly in the form of snowy nor’easters. The Northeast, which typically receives less snow during an El Niño winter, may experience two to three significant snowstorms on average.
On the other hand, the northern Rockies and Great Lakes regions are expected to have drier conditions than average.
Overall, this winter’s weather patterns diverge from the norm due to the influence of El Niño. While some areas may enjoy milder temperatures and increased precipitation, others may experience a drier season. As always, it is important to stay informed about local weather forecasts and be prepared for any unusual weather conditions that may arise.