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What weather can North Carolina expect this winter?

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, released its seasonal outlook for this winter, and as usual, it holds a mixed bag of conditions for the country.

Based on atmospheric conditions, regional oceanic oscillations, and continuing or ending trends around the globe, the projections for this winter include warmer than normal conditions for the western states and New England and cooler than normal temperatures for the south from Texas to the Panhandle of Florida.

The Pacific Northwest and the area around Lake Michigan can expect drier than normal conditions while much of the south could see wetter than normal conditions. If you combine these possibilities for temperatures and precipitation, it looks like the deep south may have better than normal chances for wintry precipitation.

Notice that I have not included North Carolina in any of the above prognostications. This winter, we have equal chances of above average, below average, or just plain average temperatures. We do have a slightly better chance at being wetter than normal, which falls in line with the trend we've already seen this year. Raleigh is still standing at ten inches more precipitation than normal since January 1st.

These outlooks are produced by NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center so that planners, emergency managers, and anyone whose livelihood and life is affected by the weather can plan ahead and prepare for the coming season. As usual, the projections, while scientifically based, need to be perceived with the understanding that variables in our atmosphere can change between now and three months from now. For this reason, these outlooks are updated twice per month. It's always a good idea to check back with the CPC if you want the most up to date outlook.