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Winter Weather : NOAA Releases Official Winter Forecast 2016-2017

Photo: Andrew Miller

Where will it snow this winter season? That is the question on everyone's mind, and NOAA,  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, just released their official winter weather forecast for the 2016-2017 season.

This forecast is calling for a varied winter season ahead, with many places in the Northern Hemisphere potentially receiving heavy moisture and snow. The latest NOAA forecast indicates that a smaller La Niña weather phenomena is in the works, which could create heavy snowfall for northern states.  This season is already showing signs of being strong, as mountains in the PNW, Colorado, Utah, California, and Canada have already been getting hit with snow. While it may only be mid-October, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, officially opens for the winter season on Friday. Bring it on winter!

Official Winter Weather Forecast from NOAA:

Forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook today, saying that La Nina is expected to influence winter conditions this year. The Climate Prediction Center issued a La Nina watch this month, predicting the climate phenomenon is likely to develop in late fall or early winter. La Nina favors drier, warmer winters in the southern U.S and wetter, cooler conditions in the northern U.S. If La Nina conditions materialize, forecasters say it should be weak and potentially short-lived.

"This climate outlook provides the most likely outcome for the upcoming winter season, but it also provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it's a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards, such as extreme cold and snowstorms," said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "Regardless of the outlook, there is always some chance for extreme winter weather, so prepare now for what might come later this winter."

Other factors that often play a role in the winter weather include the Arctic Oscillation, which influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and create nor’easters on the East Coast, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which can affect the number of heavy rain events in the Pacific Northwest.

The 2016 U.S. Winter Outlook (December through February):

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Precipitation:

  • Wetter than normal conditions are most likely in the northern Rockies, around the Great Lakes, in Hawaii and in western Alaska
  • Drier than normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S. and southern Alaska.

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Temperature:

  • Warmer than normal conditions are most likely across the southern U.S., extending northward through the central Rockies, in Hawaii, in western and northern Alaska and in northern New England.
  • Cooler conditions are most likely across the northern tier from Montana to western Michigan.

The rest of the country falls into the "equal chance" category, meaning that there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds, so they have an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures and/or precipitation.

Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strength and track of winter storms, which are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.  However, La Nina winters tend to favor above average snowfall around the Great Lakes and in the northern Rockies and below average snowfall in the mid-Atlantic.

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Check out more Winter Weather Forecasts and Weather Predictions here:

Winter Weather Forecast : AccuWeather's Long Range Forecast

Farmers' Almanac Winter Weather Predictions 2016 – 2017

Winter Weather Prediction : Old Farmers' Almanac 2016 – 2017

Check out more weather posts here.