NOAA Releases 2018-2019 Winter Outlook
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its 2018-2019 winter outlook. The forecast calls for above normal temperatures across much of the United States, especially the western half. The eastern United States is expected to have around normal temperatures. Overall, the United States has had warmer than normal winters for the past three consecutive winters, and NOAA is again predicting warmer temperatures for much of the country this winter.
Although the U.S. as a whole has been warm, Delmarva has had its fair share of cold and warm over the past three winters. Delmarva had two big snowstorms last winter (one in December and one in January), pushing our winter snowfall well above average. Temperatures were below average in both December and January, but well above average in February. The winter before (2016-2017) was a mild one overall, and only one snowstorm brought our winter snowfall to near average. The winter before that (2015-2016) was the year Christmas was 75 degrees and sunny. It turned snowy later that winter with above average snowfall that continued into March. According to NOAA, that was also the last winter our area had an El Nino, but that was a moderate to strong one, and this year is expected to be a weaker one.
NOAA is forecasting precipitation to be above normal from the Mid-Atlantic down across the Southeast, and all the way west to Texas and southern California.
NOAA’s forecast is based highly on the expectation of El Nino developing this winter. An El Nino Watch has been issued by the Climate prediction Center for the upcoming winter. Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says, “we find ourselves on the verge of El Niño…there’s a 70-to-75 percent chance El Niño will develop in the next few months.” El Nino typically brings wetter conditions across the south, which can move up the eastern seaboard due to the higher risk of coastal storms developing.
So overall, a wetter than normal winter with average temperatures is the current forecast. But be sure to stay tuned because the 47 ABC Storm Team will issue its own winter outlook Monday November 12th during the News Hour, which will have a more detailed explanation of what to expect across Delmarva. Plus, it could be different than what NOAA is forecasting.