Mild Temperatures Expected for Late Fall, Early Winter

September 25, 2012 11:59 PM

A historically strong North Pacific weather signal will trump a weak El Nino.


WSI (Weather Services International) expects the October-December period to be cooler-than-normal in the western third of the U.S. and in parts of the Southeast, with above-normal temperatures across most of the eastern two-thirds of the country. The largest positive temperature anomalies are expected in the Great Lakes region.

"The strongest, current climate signal is the cold North Pacific Ocean, otherwise known as the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). This signal typically helps drive cooler weather in the western US and warmer temperatures in the eastern US during late fall and early winter," says Todd Crawford WSI Chief Meteorologist.

"Evidence is continuing to build that the emerging El Nino event is going to be relatively weak, and WSI believes that the impacts of the strong PDO signal will more or less trump the El Nino signal, going forward. The biggest wild card heading toward winter is the degree of atmospheric blocking in the North Atlantic, typically referred to as the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Over the last few winters there have been wild swings in the NAO, from historically strong blocking winters (2009-10 and 2010-11) and very cold eastern US temperatures, to historically weak winters (2011-12) with record warm temperatures. It is still too early to predict the behavior of the NAO for the upcoming winter, but it is clearly the key to a successful winter forecast. For now, we are relying on the PDO signal, which generally suggests a cool period for the western US and a mild period in much of the East."

WSI map

In October, WSI sees the monthly breakdown as:

  • Northeast* -Warmer than normal
  • Southeast* - Warmer than normal, except FL
  • N Central * - Warmer than normal
  • S Central* - Warmer than normal
  • Northwest* -Cooler than normal
  • Southwest* -Cooler than normal

In November, WSI forecasts:

  • Northeast -Warmer than normal
  • Southeast - Cooler than normal
  • N Central - Warmer than normal
  • S Central - Warmer than normal, except eastern TX
  • Northwest -Cooler than normal
  • Southwest -Cooler than normal

In December, WSI forecasts:

  • Northeast -Warmer than normal
  • Southeast - Colder than normal
  • N Central - Warmer than normal, except SD/ND and northern MN
  • S Central - Warmer than normal
  • Northwest -Colder than normal
  • Southwest -Warmer than normal, except southern CA

For More Information
See your local weather forecast with AgWeb's Pinpoint Weather.

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