Winter in the Carolinas expected to be wetter than usual – but maybe not colder, NOAA says

The Carolinas can expect a wetter than average winter this year, according to latest seasonal forecasts.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released its winter (December-February) weather outlook for the U.S., predicting a wetter-than-normal winter in the Carolinas and much of the south, contrasting with drought conditions in some far northern states.

An overall mild winter is expected when it comes to temperatures, with most of the U.S. expected to see warmer than normal temperatures, some much warmer than normal, according to the NOAA outlook from its Climate Prediction Center.

But North and South Carolina, along with much of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley, “all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures,” NOAA said.

On its temperature forecast map, the Carolinas and much of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic are all colored white, while the rest of the country is cast in reds and oranges, since those areas are expected to be warmer.

GRAPHIC -2018-19 Winter Outlook map for temperature - NOAA.jpg
NOAA”s Winter 2018 temperature outlook for the United States. NOAA

No part of the United States is expected to have below-average temperatures, according to the outlook.

What will determine just how wet the Carolinas’ winter could be is El Niño, “an ocean-atmosphere climate interaction that is linked to periodic warming in sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. During the winter, typical El Niño conditions in the U.S. can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North,” according to NOAA.

The Carolinas should also look out for the “Arcitc Ocillation,” which NOAA says determines “the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South” and could lead to below-average temperatures.

Northern Florida and southern Georgia could see the wettest conditions this winter, according to NOAA, followed by central and Eastern North Carolina, much of South Carolina, Texas and New Mexico, northern Georgia and far southern parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

For those looking for snowfall projections, you won’t find those in NOAA’s winter outlook.

“Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur,” NOAA said.

The Climate Prediction Center issues updates its 3-month outlooks once per month, NOAA said, and the next update for this winter is expected Nov. 15.

NOAA winter weather tips

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