(WGHP) – The Climate Prediction Center released their winter outlook for the 2023-2024 season on Sept. 21.
For the first time in three years, an El Nino winter is forecast, which means the winter outlook this year looks a little different than it has the last couple of years.
The CPC is forecasting above-normal temperatures across the northern United States through the winter months with the best chance for the warmer-than-normal winter to occur in the Northeast and the Pacific Northwest.
In the Triad and the Tar Heel state, the CPC’s temperature outlook for December, January and February shows that there’s an equal chance for temperatures to be above or below normal.
With that being said, normal winter temperatures in the Triad fall into the mid-50s by Dec. 1 with the normal high temperature at the start of January in the upper 40s.
With the winter outlook from the Climate Prediction Center stating equal chances for above or below-normal temperatures in the Triad, the temperatures above are what our normals are for December through February.
The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting drier-than-normal conditions for much of the northern United States. In particular, the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest have the best chance for drier than normal winter months.
While the North experiences a drier-than-normal winter, the majority of the South looks to see a wetter-than-normal winter.
The CPC is forecasting a 40% chance of a wetter-than-normal winter in the Triad.
Now, while many may think wetter than normal in winter means more snow, this is not necessarily the case. However, it does give us a better chance to see winter-like precipitation.
One of the reasons behind this particular winter outlook has to do with the fact that winter 2023-2024 is forecast to be an El Nino winter.
What does El Nino mean?
El Nino is a weather pattern that has to do with the weakening of the trade winds over the Pacific Ocean which leads to warm ocean waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The warmer ocean water then increases the potential for rainfall in areas like southern California through Texas and even into the southeastern United States.
In a typical El Nino winter, the Polar jet stream sets up slightly further north which makes for warmer than normal temperatures in the northwestern part of the country.
A persistent Pacific jet stream sets up over the South which brings increased rainfall for the majority of the Deep South including portions of the Southeast. The Tennessee River Valley tends to run drier than normal from an El Nino setup.
After looking at a typical El Nino winter and the CPC’s winter outlook for the Triad, it seems the Triad is trending towards a possibly more active winter.
It’s still very early considering Autumn just began but winter is something that the FOX 8 Max Weather Team will be monitoring as we approach the colder months.