NOAA releases the 2018-2019 Winter Outlook


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, releasing its Winter Outlook on Thursday, predicts that MI will see a warmer and drier than normal 2018/19 winter season.

There's a lot more than just an El Nino pattern that determines how winter will play out.

These warmer-than-usual temperatures in the Pacific Ocean often bring warmer winters across the country as well as more rain to Southern California and the southern U.S.

The outlook says El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing.

"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.

"All things being equal, the slight kick we get out of the climate signal does tilt things toward the warm side", Halpert said; cautioning, however, that that's not enough to outweigh other factors if they push toward cold.

-No part of the favored to have below-average temperatures.

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The Climate Prediction Center's outlook seems to at least indirectly contradict the one released by the 2019 Farmers' Almanac, an annual Lewiston-based publication which uses a mathematical and astronomical formula created in 1818 to come up with long-range forecasts.

-Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the US, and up into the Mid-Atlantic. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation during the winter, the NOAA said.

But drought conditions are anticipated to improve in areas in Arizona and New Mexico, southern sections of Utah and Colorado, as well as the coastal Pacific Northwest and Central Plains, the agency said.

The real teeth-chattering arrives mid-February especially in the following zones: "Northeast/New England, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Midwest, and Southeast (yes, even the Southeast will be in the chill zone!)".

NOAA's seasonal outlooks give the likelihood that temperatures and precipitation will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are expected to change, but the outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations.

The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center posts its three-month outlook once a month. The next update will be available on November 15.

Farmer's Almanac Editor Peter Geiger said in late August his publication predicts "a very long, cold and snow-filled winter".