Look, it's hard to start thinking about winter now, when you have a fridge full of pumpkin beer and still need to make time to get out and see the changing leaves. But after last winter's frigid bomb cyclone and record snow storms, it would behoove you to get a sense of how much cold and snow to expect this winter. Thankfully, the 2018-2019 season might not be too bad in many parts of the country, according to a new winter weather outlook issued by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday.
In its latest Winter Outlook report, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said forecasters currently predict a mild winter for much of the United States, so you may not have to disappear into a cocoon of blankets and pizza boxes after all. Specifically, there's a good likelihood that warmer temperatures will occur across two thirds of the country (including Alaska and Hawaii), and thanks to a weak El Nino system that's expected develop early in the season, signs are pointing to drier-than-average conditions in northern parts of the country and wetter-than-average conditions in the South. Oh, and there's not a single part of the country favored to have lower-than-average temperatures.
“We expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in the report. “Although a weak El Nino is expected, it may still influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North.”
To be clear, the outlook doesn't include snow accumulation forecasts, but rather precipitation in general. Even if the season is expected to be warmer and drier than normal, there's still a chance that a blizzard will inundate your neighborhood with snow, so uh, that leftover pumpkin beer that ends up in the back of your fridge might just come in handy.