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What Kind of Winter Is Heading Your Way?

You will either be grateful for or curse La Niña for this winter’s weather. That’s because this weather phenomenon is going to either bless some parts of the country with ample moisture or short-change other areas of rain.

The maps above provide a glimpse into weather for the next several months based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predictions. 

In short, expect winter to be: 

  • Wetter than normal for many Northern states.
  • Dryer than normal for the entire South.

Those states in the central High Plains as well as central and northern Pacific states will get the same winter they enjoyed last year.

The La Niña factor

“If La Niña conditions develop [NOAA considers that very likely], we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter,” predicts Mike Halpert of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Typical La Niña patterns during winter include above-average precipitation and colder-than-average temperatures along the northern tier of the U.S. and below-normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South.”

Moisture-wise, part of the North will receive more snowfall. This increased moisture will do little to dampen the existing drought in the northern High Plains since “the ground is frozen at this time of year and can’t take up moisture despite the extra snowfall,” says Halpert.

However, he says an existing drought that extends from the northeast part of Texas north into south Missouri will end.

Regarding temperatures, an area from northern Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest will get slammed with below-average temperatures.

At this point in time, NOAA expects temperatures in the vast majority of the rest of the country to be “equal.” That means this vast area will have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures. 

Last winter, much of the East into the South and Midwest had one of the warmest winters. In fact, two of the top 10 warmest winters dating since 1895 occurred in back-to-back years.

Last winter was the seventh-warmest winter season on record. The 2015-2016 period was the warmest winter record holder.

You can access a video of the winter weather prediction here.

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