Winter is on our doorstep and warmer than average temperatures are forecasted for much of the United States this winter, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

Some areas could experience a colder than normal winter although most are expected to remain above average. Wetter conditions are most likely across the Northern Tier of the United States during the winter season, which extends from December through February.

While the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern often influences the winter, neutral conditions are in place this year and expected to persist into the spring season.

“Without either El Niño or La Niña conditions, short-term climate patterns like the Arctic Oscillation will drive winter weather and could result in large swings in temperature and precipitation,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. 

The spring of 2019 saw significant and historic flooding across the central United States which impacted nearly 17 million people. However, during the summer and early fall season, drought rapidly developed across much of the southern United States. Drought conditions are now present across approximately 20% of the country, including the Concho Valley.  

The states with the greatest likelihood of temperatures being above average for the winter season are Alaska and Hawaii. The southwest and stretching across to the Deep South and portions of northern New England have a moderate chance for above average temperatures this winter.

According to NOAA forecasters, no part of the country is favored to have below-average temperatures this winter.

Wetter than average conditions are expected in Alaska and Hawaii this winter, along with portions of the Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes, and parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States.

Drier than normal conditions are expected for parts of Central and East Texas, extending into the state of Louisiana and East Mississippi. Dry conditions are also expected for northern and central parts of California including the Bay Area.

Abnormally dry conditions are present across much of the Southern United States, with the most severe drought conditions located in the Four Corners region of the Southwest, Central Texas, and parts of the Southeast. Portions of the Concho Valley continue to be under extreme drought conditions.

The seasonal outlook provided by NOAA shows the likelihood that temperatures and total precipitation amounts will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are favored to change. The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are expected.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. The next update will be available November 21.