NOAA releases 2020 winter outlook for U.S.

Weather News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – Siouxland’s winter will likely be an average one, both for temperature and precipitation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The predictions also show that drought conditions will worsen during winter.

The winter forecast for the United States by the NOAA is favoring a cooler and wetter winter for the northern and northwestern portions of the United States and a warmer and drier winter for the southern tier of the United States.

Meanwhile, Siouxland sits in the middle with equal chances of below-, near-, or above-average temperatures this winter.

This U.S. Winter Outlook 2020-2021 map for temperature shows above-average temperatures are likely in the South and below-average temperatures likely in parts of the North.
This U.S. Winter Outlook 2020-2021 map for temperature shows above-average temperatures are likely in the South and below-average temperatures likely in parts of the North. (NOAA Climate.gov, using NWS CPC data)

The wetter and cooler winter for the north and warmer and drier winter for the south is forecasted due to the ongoing La Nina.

When La Nina is present in the United States, it typically means warmer than normal temperatures in the southeast and cooler than normal tempertures in the northwest for the winter season.

A La Nina represents periods of below-average temperatures across the east-central Equatorial Pacific, according to the NOAA.

According to the NOAA, forecasters at its Climate Prediction Center, which is a division of the National Weather Service (NWS), are also closely monitoring persistent drought conditions during the winter months to come, with more than 45% of the continental U.S. currently experiencing a drought.

“NOAA’s timely and accurate seasonal outlooks and short-term forecasts are the result of improved satellite observations, more detailed computer forecast modeling, and expanding supercomputing capacity. From expansive and multi-hazard winter storms to narrow but intense lake effect snow, NOAA will provide the necessary information to keep communities safe,” NOAA Acting Administrator Neil Jacobs, Ph.D, said.

The NOAA states that large areas of drought currently extend over the western half of the country, with parts of the northeast also experiencing drought and near-record low stream flows.

Southern parts of the United States could experience expanded and intensifying drought conditions during the winter months (December 2020 through February 2021) with the La Nina, according to the NOAA.

“With La Nina well established and expected to persist through the upcoming 2020 winter season, we anticipate the typical cooler, wetter north, and warmer, drier south, as the most likely outcome of winter weather that the U.S. will experience this year,” Deputy Directory of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center added.

The NOAA states that the greatest chances for warmer-than-normal conditions extend across the southern half of the United States from the southwest, across the Gulf states and into the southeast.

Below normal temperatures are favored in southern Alaska and from the northern Pacific Northwest into the Northern Plains, with equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average temperatures in the remaining areas, which includes Siouxland.

The NOAA also stated that wetter-than-average conditions are most likely across the northern half of the United States, extending from the Pacific Northwest, across the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and into the Ohio Valley, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

The greatest chances for drier-than-average conditions are predicted in the southwest, across Texas and along the Gulf Coas and in Florida, according to the NOAA.

The remainder of the United States, including the Mid-Atlantic and northeast falls into the category of equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average precipitation.

Siouxland also falls in the category of equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average precipitation according to the NOAA’s Winter 2020 U.S. Precipitation Outlook map.

This 2020-2021 U.S. Winter Outlook map for precipitation shows wetter-than-average weather is most likely across the Northern Tier of the U.S. and drier-than-average weather is favored across the South.
This 2020-2021 U.S. Winter Outlook map for precipitation shows wetter-than-average weather is most likely across the Northern Tier of the U.S. and drier-than-average weather is favored across the South. (NOAA Climate.gov, using NWS CPC data)

Drought conditions are currently wide spread across the western half of the continental U.S. as a result of weak southwest summer monsoon season and near-record-high temperatures.

According to the NOAA, drought conditions are also present in parts of the northeast, Ohio Valley, Hawaii, and Alaska.

The ongoing La Nina is expected to expand and intensify drought conditions across the southern and central plains, eastern Gulf Coast, and in California during the winter months.

The NOAA is predicting that drought conditions will worsen for Siouxland during the winter months.

This seasonal U.S. Drought Outlook map for November 2020 through January 2021 predicts persistent drought across much of the Western U.S. in the months ahead.
This seasonal U.S. Drought Outlook map for November 2020 through January 2021 predicts persistent drought across much of the Western U.S. in the months ahead. (NOAA Climate.gov based on NWS CPC data)

The NOAA states that these outlooks do not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advanced.

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