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 precipitation than average across the northern United States from December through February.
The winter season across the United States is often influenced by either an El Nino or La Nina climate pattern, which involve periodic warming or cooling of the equatorial waters of the Pacific Ocean. Neither pattern is expected to be in play this winter so the forecast is based primarily on long term weather trends. Other climate indicators will influence cold air outbreaks and winter precipitation, but are these are usually only good at predicting conditions within a window of a few weeks.
“Without either El Nino or La Nina conditions, short-term climate patterns like the Arctic Oscillation will drive winter weather and could result in large swings in temperature and precipitation,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
For the ArkLaTex the expected pattern favors generally warmer than average conditions. That’s not to say that we won’t see any cold snaps, but they could be short-lived and overshadowed by stretches of warmer than average temperatures in between.
The ArkLaTex is one of just a couple parts of the country expected to see below average precipitation.
In an average winter, the ArkLaTex sees highs in the upper 50s and lows in the upper 30s during the 3 month period of December through January. On average we pick up almost 14 inches of precipitation during this same time frame.
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 more than about a week out.
The KSLA First Alert Weather Team will keep you updated on the day-to-day details for the ArkLaTex. Here’s how you can always get the latest forecast updates: