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NOAA: West, New England will have warm winter

October 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Residents of the western states and New England may face a relatively mild winter this year, according to a new prediction by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.

The agency’s U.S. Winter Outlook, released today, indicates that the coastal and inter-mountain west will likely experience average winter temperatures that are above normal.

“The temperature outlook for November-December-January (NDJ) 2014-15 indicates elevated probabilities of above-normal mean temperatures for Alaska, the far west, along the northern tier of the continental U.S. eastward to include parts of the northeast and mid-Atlantic,” the document said. “Below-normal mean temperatures are most likely over areas from eastern New Mexico to the western Gulf coast states.”

Graphic courtesy NOAA

Graphic courtesy NOAA

Warmer does not mean drier, though. NOAA said that higher-than-average precipitation can be expected in southern California, the desert southwest, the southern Great Plains, across the deep south, and up the Atlantic coast to southern New England.

Graphic courtesy NOAA

Graphic courtesy NOAA

That may be good news for water-starved California, though the drought there is not likely to end.

“While we’re predicting at least a two-in-three chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow,” Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said.

An El Nino event could well happen this winter, but if it does, it is expected to be a weak one. NOAA estimated on Oct. 9 that there is a 67 percent chance of an El Nino event in the coming months.

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