Weak El Nino conditions favor relatively mild winter temperatures across Minnesota, the Upper Midwest and much of the rest of the country, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday in its annual winter outlook.
The NOAA outlook covers the months of December, January and February, when the average high temperatures in Portland are 37 degrees, 31 degrees and 35 degrees, respectively.
Much of the state has at least a 33 percent chance of a warmer than normal season, with areas nearer the northwest corner of Kansas having at least a 40 percent chance of a warmer season, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center said in a news release.
The balmy prediction is due to the roughly 75% chance of an El Niño developing.
"That does not mean that below average temperatures can not occur", Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement. This change in sea surface temperature has a wide range of effects on seasonal weather patterns across the globe, but in the US, an El Niño typically means warmer winter temperatures, and higher levels of precipitation in certain regions of the country.
The Carolinas should also look out for the "Arcitc Ocillation", which NOAA says determines "the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South" and could lead to below-average temperatures.
Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across much of the northern and western US, with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains.
The Southeast, Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic can go any which way on temperature, Halpert said.
-No part of the U.S.is favored to have below-average temperatures. Northern Florida and southern Georgia have the greatest odds for above-average precipitation during the winter, the NOAA said. "The maps show only the most likely category with higher probability indicating greater confidence".
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.
For those looking for snowfall projections, you won't find those in NOAA's winter outlook. Snow forecasts are generally not easily predicated more than a week in advance.
In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, above-average temperatures are most likely across the northern and western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
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