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Rest of winter outlook

Rest of winter outlook

by Ben Pine

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 3, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 4:12 PM

Seasonal forecasts are often fairly vague, but La Nina is firmly in control, and that does usually give us certain weather trends during the winter. 

Let's start off with a look at the expected weather for the rest of this month.  The Climate Prediction Center has our area in a better chance of below average temperatures.  Our precipitation chances are near normal for the month.  Wetter over southwest US, and drier southeast.  The following two maps will represent this.  While this pattern would contradict past La Nina weather, a strong trough has been in place over the eastern US, and won't budge for the next couple weeks at least - keeping conditions cold, but mainly dry. The GFS is keeping our area mainly dry with a northwest flow, but also cold for the first couple weeks of January.

Let's look ahead through the rest of winter through March.  La Nina will be the main player in managing the weather.  La Nina (cooler than normal waters over Eastern Equatorial Pacific) is forecast to stay in place through the spring season. 

For us, this means normal or slightly above average temperatures and above average chances of precipitation.  If temperatures are above normal, then most of that precipitation type would be rain.  However, if we have better chances of precipitation in the winter, we'll always have to watch for snow.  Take a look at the map below and feel free to click the image to make it larger.

I mentioned La Nina has a historical pattern for the US, here's an image of that.  If you average it all out, La Nina gives us a better chance of milder and wetter weather.

What does this mean for severe weather for the rest of winter and spring?  NOAA meteorologists say it may be busy, "Contrasting El Niño and La Niña winters, the jet stream over the United States is considerably different. During El Niño the jet stream is oriented from west to east over the northern Gulf of Mexico and northern Florida. Thus this region is most susceptible to severe weather. During La Niña the jet stream extends from the central Rockies east- northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes. Thus severe weather is likely to be further north and west during La Niña than El Niño."

Whatever happens we'll keep a close watch on it all!  Always stay tuned to your most accurate forecasts on WHAS11 and WHAS11.com.

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