NOAA Explains Updated 2016-2017 Winter Weather Outlook

NOAA Explains Updated 2016-2017 Winter Weather Outlook


NOAA Explains Updated 2016-2017 Winter Weather Outlook



Typical La Nina Winter | Photo Credit: NOAA | Cover Photo: Anthony Quintano

Since releasing their most up-to-date winter weather outlook last week, a series of questions have emerged on whether or not La Niña will provide any recognizable difference in snow totals for North America.

Related: Farmer’s Almanac 2016 – 2017 Winter Weather Prediction | Forecast

In order to answer these questions, NOAA‘s Mike Halpert has come to the rescue in his most recent ENSO post. Halpert, who serves as the Climate Prediction Center Deputy Director, is emphasizing “P” as in probability for the 2016-2017 winter weather outlook. His graphics (see below), show how the forecasted precipitation patterns differ greatly from the observed (i.e.- the proof is in the pudding).

“Keep in mind that these outlooks will primarily benefit those who play the long game. That’s because even though some seasons are a bust, over the span of many years, the forecasts are right more often than you’d expect due to chance.” Mike Halpert, CPC Deputy  Director

That’s not to say that all forecasts are wrong. In fact, eastern Washington and Oregon’s forecasted temperature trends during the 2015-2016 season were in line with the original, El Niño based outlooks. On the other hand, the precipitation totals were way off, showing how hard it is to accurately predict seasonal climate trends vs. predicting 10-day weather trends.

Precipitation Take Aways


  • Slightly above average precipitation for the PNW and Idaho
  • Heavy precipitation for most of Montana and the northern mid-west
  • Below average precipitation for the Southwest
  • Equal chances for an average precipitation on the east coast

Temperature Take Aways


  • PNW has equal chances of an average winter temperatures
  • The majority of the west and parts of the northeast will see above average temps for much of the winter.
  • Montana and Wyoming could see both normal and above normal temps during the 2016-2017 ski season. 
  • The upper penninsula of Michigan should see excess precipitation accompanied by frequent cold spells. 


Find the entire ENSO post here: What to expect this winter: NOAA’s 2016-17 Winter Outlook

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