NOAA's Winter Outlook

KY may trend slightly wetter & warmer this winter.
Posted at 6:21 PM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 18:21:44-04

NOAA released its outlook for the upcoming winter season. The seasonal outlook provides the likelihood that temperatures and total precipitation will be above-, near-, or below-average. This doesn't project snowfall accumulations or the timing of cold outbreaks. Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are expected.

Warmer-than-average temperatures are favored for most of the U.S., including Kentucky, this winter. That doesn't mean there won't be outbreaks of bitter cold, or that some areas end up experiencing a colder-than-normal winter between December and February.

  • The greatest likelihood for warmer-than-normal conditions are in Alaska and Hawaii.
  • There are more modest probabilities for above-average temperatures spanning large parts of the lower 48 from the West across the South and up the eastern seaboard.
  • The northern tier of the U.S. have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.
  • No part of the U.S. is favored to have below-average temperatures this winter.

Kentucky is on the southern edge of the area favored for a wetter-than-normal winter. The greater chances are across the Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, and the Great Lakes.

  • Drier-than-average conditions are most likely for Louisiana, parts of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well areas of northern and central California.
  • The remainder of the U.S. falls into the category of equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average precipitation.

The drought is expected to improve over the coming months for portions of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Meanwhile, drier-than-normal may expand the severe drought already in place for the Four Corners, central Texas, and the Mississippi Delta. Dry conditions are also expected for central California, which may develop a drought.

NOAA climate forecasters look to long-range trends and climate patterns to put together the seasonal outlook. El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) often a significant player in the winter forecast. Neutral conditions are in place now and are expected to persist into next spring. Other climate patterns, such as the Madden-Julian Oscillation and Arctic Oscillation, will likely play a larger role in long-term winter weather forecasting.