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Winter Weather Outlook: What You Should Know

The NOAA has released their 2021 Winter Outlook, which begins December 2021 and lasts until February 2022. With help from forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center, the National Centers for Environmental Prediction can create seasonal outlooks to help communities prepare for the coming months. Here are the three things you should know from the 2021 Winter Outlook:

La Niña conditions will occur.

La Niña climate conditions will occur for the second winter in a row. Although we have already seen one likely effect of La Niña this year—a more active Atlantic hurricane season, with nearly twice as many storms as average so far this year, the most substantial La Niña effect on North American rain, snow, and temperature happens during winter. This climate pattern generally brings winters that are drier and warmer than usual across the southern U.S. and cooler and wetter in the northern U.S. Although snow is hard to predict, experts say La Niña could bring increased snowfall over the Northwest, northern Rockies, and Upper Midwest Great Lakes region. Parts of the Southwest, central-southern Plains, and mid-Atlantic are likely to see less than usual.

Temperature Outlook

Due to La Niña conditions, NOAA is forecasting a warmer than average winter for much of the country. The South and the Gulf Coast have the strongest probability of a warmer-than-usual winter. The Southwest, much of the Midwest, and the Northeast can also expect a warmer winter. The Pacific Northwest, Montana, and the western half of the Dakotas are likely to see a colder-than-average winter. Northern California, Wyoming, and Minnesota look like they will see normal temperatures.

Precipitation Outlook

The precipitation forecast has a lot to do with La Niña, which has already settled in. The Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes region are most likely to see a wetter-than-average winter this year. The Northern Rockies, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Missouri may also see more precipitation. The southern half of the country is looking at drier conditions, especially the Southwest, Florida, and southern Georgia. The rest of the country should expect an average amount of rain or snow.

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