NOAA Predicts Warmer Winter for U.S., Droughts to Persist in the South

Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting above-average temperatures over most of the country and a continuation of drier-than-average conditions across already drought-stricken parts of the Southwest and Southeast.

These forecasts were made in NOAA's winter outlook for the United States, announced on Oct. 9 at the 2007-2008 Winter Fuels Outlook Conference in Washington, D.C.

"La Niña is here, with a weak-to-moderate event likely to persist through the winter," said Michael Halpert, head of forecast operations and acting deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "While December through February is likely to be another milder-than-average winter for much of the country, people should still expect some bouts of winter weather."

For the 2007 to 2008 U.S. winter, from December through February, NOAA seasonal forecasters predict:

  • In the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic, temperatures are expected to be above average in response to the long-term warming trend. Snowfall for the region will depend on other climate factors, which are difficult to anticipate more than one-to-two weeks in advance.
  • The drought-plagued Southeast is likely to remain drier-than-average due to La Niña, while temperatures are expected to be above average.
  • In the Great Lakes and Tennessee Valley, temperatures and precipitation should be above average.
  • The south-central Plains should see drier-than-average conditions and warmer-than-average temperatures. Above-average temperatures are also expected in the central Plains. The northern Plains could see a range from above-average to below-average temperature and precipitation.
  • The Northwest also could see above-average to below-average temperatures. Precipitation should be above average in much of the region due to La Niña.
  • Drought conditions are expected to persist in the Southwest due to La Niña, and temperatures are likely to be above average.
  • Northern Alaska is expected to have milder-than-average temperature and precipitation, while the rest of Alaska could see a range from above-average to below-average temperatures and precipitation. In Hawaii, temperatures and precipitation are expected to be above average.

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