SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued their long range forecast for the winter season ahead (December-February) today. Their forecast calls for warmer and drier than average conditions across the southern part of the United States and cooler and wetter than average conditions across the northern U.S.
The main driver for this year’s winter season forecast is La Nina, which involves a periodic cooling of the waters of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America. When a La Nina occurs it impacts weather patterns worldwide. These patterns are well studied and tend to favor warmer and drier than average conditions across much of the southern United States including the ArkLaTex.
“With La Niña well established and expected to persist through the upcoming 2020 winter season, we anticipate the typical, cooler, wetter North, and warmer, drier South, as the most likely outcome of winter weather that the U.S. will experience this year,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
In an average winter season in the ArkLaTex high temperatures are in the upper 50s, low temperatures are in the upper 30s and we see almost 14″ of rain during the 3 month period from December through February. Of course those averages are reached with day-to-day variations in the weather.
Based on NOAA’s forecast we’re most likely looking at warmer than average temperatures across the ArkLaTex this winter.
The forecast also suggests that we can expect to see less rain than average from December through February.
It’s possible that over the winter season drought conditions could develop, especially across southeast Oklahoma and portions of east Texas.
The warmer and drier than average forecast doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t get any cold weather or snow. Any cold snaps though are likely to be short-lived. And snow and ice can’t be accurately predicted more than a week ahead of time here in the ArkLaTex.
The goal of NOAA’s seasonal outlooks is to help communities prepare for what is likely to come in the months ahead and minimize weather’s impacts on lives and livelihoods. The next forecast update for December-February comes out November 19th.