From the ABC 7 Weather team

NOAA's 2012 winter weather outlook

October 18, 2012 - 11:14 AM
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What does the NOAA think about the winter months ahead? Find out their thoughts here.

(Photo courtesy Mike Conneen)

NOAA has given it's 2012 winter weather outlook and unfortunately it doesn't appear too helpful for those residents on the east coast of the United States.

NOAA gave a 3-month temperature and precipitation outlook (December-February) and with the patterns expected across the U.S. and globally, there doesn't appear to be a strong signal for extreme cold, lots of precipitation, or above average temperatures. Below are the outlooks.

3-Month Temperature Outlook

The temperature outlook shows equal chances of above average, below average and near normal temperatures across our area. The regions with stronger signals for differences are over the Rockies and most of the U.S. west of the Mississippi River where above average temperatures are forecast and Florida where below average temperatures are forecast.

3-Month Precipitation Outlook

The precipitation forecast shows more of the same for the east coast with equal chances for above, below and near normal precipitation. The Midwest is forecast to have below normal precipitation as does the Pacific Northwest, whereas the Deep South is expected to have above normal precipitation.

Here's Devon Lucie's interview with Mike Halpert who is the Deputy Director of the Climate Prediction Center.

Why is this the forecast and what does it mean?

The patterns involved in this forecast are most certainly El Nino which currently is in a neutral to weak state, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) which varies on a weekly basis and can only be forecast out a few weeks at a time, and possibly the Arctic Oscillation (AO) which also can only be forecast out a few weeks in advance as well. Considerable variation can occur, say, if the NAO swings negative and spills in colder air across our region.

The equal chances in the forecast will make snow lovers happy since we are still in disgust over last years pitiful showing of 2 inches at Reagan National which was the lowest since 1972-73. With this forecast, there will be an equal chance for a little bit of everything in the D.C. area which does include the chance for some heavy snows. Don't worry though, Doug's official winter weather outlook will be coming out on November 12th so be sure to tune in during the 5pm show on that Monday as we try to pin down a more precise forecast for the winter ahead.

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