NOAA experts release 2020-2021 winter outlook, warmer temperatures south

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ROANOKE. Va. (WFXR) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its winter weather outlook Thursday morning. Their long-range forecast shows above-average temperatures for the southern half of the United States.

The winter outlook forecast runs from December through February. Forecasters with NOAA mentioned the ongoing La Niña contributing to their current outlook. A La Niña phase is characterized by cool sea surface temperature in the Pacific impacting weather patterns in North America. This pattern often indicates a decrease in precipitation in the southern half of the United States.

“With La Nina 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.

The southern half of the U.S. may notice warmer temperatures this winter. Portions of southern Texas and New Mexico will have the highest probability of experience warmer-than-average temperatures during the season. The current outlook has Southwest and Central Virginia experiencing slightly warmer-than-average temperatures for the winter.

When it comes to precipitation, much of Virginia can expect near-average precipitation for winter. The Ohio Valley could see more activity when it comes to precipitation, while the Carolinas and the Southeast could see a drier weather pattern.

It’s important to keep in mind that these winter outlooks are long-range forecasts which rely on large-scale weather patterns and oscillations. Day-to-day forecasts tend to offer more accuracy. The WFXR Pinpoint Weather Team will continue to bring you the latest weather updates as we enter the winter season.

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