Wintry weather is on its way and the El Niño will significantly impact weather patterns during the cold months, AccuWeather’s expert long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok reported.
A strong El Nino or La Nina (which refers to ocean water temperatures in the central Pacific Ocean) can help predict snowfall patterns during the winter, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
For the upcoming 2018-2019 winter season, there's a 70% chance that water temperatures will reach above-average and only a 20% chance that water temperatures will be near-average. However, most models don't show a strong El Nino, NOAA said. Instead, we will likely see at a weak to moderate El Nino.
Here’s Pastelok's look at the winter forecast for the six U.S. regions:
1. Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes: Colder weather will make itself known between January and February. Temperatures could be between four to eight degrees lower than last year in New York City and Philadelphia, while the mid-Atlantic states can prepare for several big snowstorms. The Great Lakes can expect less frequent lake-effect snow.
2. Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Gulf Coast: Cold snaps will become more frequent from mid-to late season, with multiple storms forecast for the region between January and February. The central and western Gulf Coast could see frost and freezes and Florida may experience severe weather and flooding.
3. Western Ohio Valley, Midwest, central/northern Plains: Temperatures will change dramatically between January and February, but these regions will likely experience below-normal snowfall and less frequent storms.
4. The southern Plains: Storms are expected to grow in frequency from January, with snow and ice to hit areas from Dallas to north of Houston and into Little Rock.
5. The Southwest: Wet and cool weather is expected for the Southeast however; the interior Southwest could be drier this winter as more precipitation reaches central California. The region could experience above-normal temperatures, which could rise between 2-4 degrees Fahrenheit higher than usual for Flagstaff, Arizona, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
6. The Northwest and Rockies: The western parts of the U.S. could experience a “deep flow” of moisture, Pastelok noted. Flooding and mudslides could hit Central and Northern California to Oregon, where the heaviest precipitation could be experienced. Conditions are expected to dry out by February.
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