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NOAA Releases Winter Season Outlook

snowy-mountains Will there be more, or less, snow this winter?

The winter season outlook from NOAA is in!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the lead government agency for weather, water, and climate information. It is from this source, NOAA, that the National Weather Service offices stems, distributing critical weather information to the public every day.

Every fall, NOAA releases a winter season outlook. These outlooks are created through probabilities, or likelihood, to determine precipitation and temperature trends for the country over a season. Using large scale weather patterns, computer models, and climate trends, forecasters at NOAA can determine whether the winter months will likely be wetter or drier, or warmer or colder as compared to any average year. The outlook can give us all a good idea of general weather trends for the season ahead.

Unfortunately, these outlook don’t share specific details of exactly how much snow we’ll get (or exactly what days). So, you can’t start planning now what days you’ll be “sick” from work to head out skiing or riding. Those details still can’t be forecast much more than a week out. You can always check in with our SnoCast every week to check the forecast there.

With that, this year, NOAA highlights much of the lower 48 favored to have a milder than average winter. Temperatures for most of the West stretched through the mid-Atlantic and Northeast are likely to have warmer than average conditions. This doesn’t mean winter’s chill won’t come, it simply means there could be frequent mild stretches. Depending on what you like, this could mean really pleasant conditions on the slopes this season.  

The Upper Midwest has been given an “equal chance” in the temperature outlook. This means there is no clear indication of whether it will be warmer or colder than average. That likely means big swings of both warm and cold conditions throughout the season.

For precipitation, NOAA highlights the Upper Midwest, Great Lakes, through the mid-Atlantic with a likely wetter than normal season. When the outlook says ‘wetter’ …don't worry…it doesn’t mean every storm will be rain. It means any type of precipitation! This means with enough cold air in place at the right time, storms that may frequent the forecast and add up over time, could mean big snowfall for the Upper Midwest.

Finally, certain areas are expected to be drier than average, which includes part of California. After an absolutely incredible last season, storms could be less frequent for the southwest U.S. as compared to an average year.

No matter what this season throws at us, winter always comes through. Get those skis and boards ready. We’re excited for whatever comes in the months ahead.

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