22 October, 2017
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its winter outlook report for the United States, predicting cooler and wetter weather in the North and warmer, drier weather for the South.
"If La Niña 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 NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
This forecast for a mild winter across more than half the country doesn't mean the snow will stay away completely, however.
A better-than-average chance of below-normal temperatures is forecast for Minnesota, particularly from January into February.
Last season also brought a La Niña weather pattern, which dumped drought 866 inches of snow on the ski area - and plenty to the lowlands, too. The 2015-2016 winter was record warm, about 4.55 degrees hotter than normal.
The outlook covers winter precipitation and temperatures.More news: Canada heartened by new congressional research report on NAFTA
According to NOAA's projections, wetter-than-average conditions are favored across most of the northern United States, extending from the northern Rockies, to the eastern Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, in Hawaii and in western and northern Alaska. The southern U.S.is expected to be drier and warmer than usual this winter, NOAA said. Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance because they depend upon the strength and track of winter storms.
There was a La Nina for the early part of last winter.
Meanwhile forecasters expect drier conditions across the southern U.S.
Halpert said the southern U.S.is likely to be drier than normal, while the north from eastern Washington through the Great Lakes to update NY is likely to be wetter.
The winter outlook is expected to be updated on November 16.
"Our models are kind of waffling in that area", Halpert said.