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La Nina to influence winter weather, officials predict

22 October 2017, 01:24 | Floyd Cook

NOAA's precipitation probability forecast for December 2017 to February 2018

NOAA's precipitation probability forecast for December 2017 to February 2018

Federal forecasters say this winter may be colder and wetter in parts of the northern United States, while staying warmer and drier in much of the South.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its winter outlook, and they're expecting very different winters in the northern half of the country compared to the southern half of the country.

The Climate Prediction Center has come out with an early look at the Winter Forecast for 2017-2018.

La Nina is one of the phases of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, and it occurs when ocean temperatures in the southern Pacific Ocean drop slightly below their average.

"If La Nina conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter", said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the NOAA center. He added that, "Basically the effect of a larger scale climate pattern that's moving through because of La Niña doesn't really have an effect on what we might see from lake effect".

The rest of the country falls into the "equal chance" category, which means there is an equal chance for above-, near-, or below-normal temperatures because there is not a strong enough climate signal in these areas to shift the odds.

Northwest Alaska may be wetter than usual, while Hawaii has about 40% odds of being drier than usual.

More snow than normal is expected for Chicago this winter.

Private forecasting firm Accuweather agrees that a La Nina pattern is likely to emerge with the start of winter.

∙ Drier-than-normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S. The next update will be issued on November 16, 2017.

Left to pure luck alone there's an "equal chance" that temperature or precipitation in any location could be above average, near average, or below average over the course of the winter.

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