SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released their forecast for the upcoming winter season Thursday. They expect warmer than average conditions for much of the country and more rain than average across the southern United States from December through February.
For most the ArkLaTex, there are no strong signals that the upcoming winter will be either warmer or cooler than average. Like most winters here we can likely expect some periods of warm weather as well as some shots of colder air at times.
The chances that we will see wetter than average conditions are a little more certain for all but southwestern Arkansas and southeast Oklahoma.
The wetter than average forecast across the south is closely linked to the forecast of an El Nino developing. El Nino is an ocean-atmosphere interaction that is linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. It affects weather patterns all across the world and often causes an active storm track across the southern United States.
“We expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North,” said Halpert.
For the ArkLaTex we average highs in the upper 50s and lows in the upper 30s during the winter season. On average we pick up almost 14 inches of rain between December and February.
The winter outlook does not include any predictions for snow and ice. Getting frozen precipitation in the ArkLaTex requires the right mix of sufficiently cold air and moisture which cannot be accurately predicted this far out.