Forecast, outlooks, predictions, everyone wants to know who is going to get the big winter storms during the 2017 – 2018 winter. To help in our projections, the National Weather Service has released some long range forecast maps for the upcoming winter.
What NOAA’s official maps are showing us is that with a lack of an El Niño or La Niña event, this winter will see most of the continental United States with equal chances of an average winter in terms of snow. Temperature probability for much of the United States is a little more clear with NOAA calling for above average temperatures, everywhere except the upper midwest.
“Despite the ENSO-neutral forecast lean, we still have a fair number of models forecasting at least a weak El Niño through the upcoming winter. Therefore, forecasters certainly are not ruling out the development of El Niño; in fact, they are calling for an elevated chance, relative to average, of El Niño onset.” – NOAA
Currently, our focus is on Alaska, where NOAA is predicting above average precipitation for the 2017/2018 season. However, that precipitation is projected to be accompanied by warmer than average temps. That combo is making it unclear as to whether it’ll be an all-time season for AK skiers and riders or an absurdly rainy one.
Official Winter Outlook From NOAA
Winter Weather Forecast December – January – February 2017-18
The Climate Prediction Center says there is a 55 percent chance of normal conditions in the El Nino region this winter. They also say if the water conditions change from the current forecast, it leans toward an El Nino. They put the chance of an El Nino this winter at 35 percent. This leaves only a 10 percent chance of the opposite of an El Nino, called La Nina.