Those hoping to build a snowman this season (or sit inside and enjoy the charm of winter weather from a distance) have better chances of their dreams coming true.
An update to the Climate Prediction Center’s official winter forecast shows colder weather and higher chances of precipitation than the last forecast.
The 90-day-outlook was published Thursday morning by the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Weather Service. It gives people a rough idea of what December, January and February will look like across the country.
Last month, the long-rage winter forecast showed dry and unseasonably warm weather for nearly everyone – not exactly the recipe for a white Christmas. This month, things are looking wintery, at least for half the country. The effects of La Niña are still clearly visible, splitting the country in two.
A La Niña climate pattern tends to divide the country in half, bringing a dry winter to the southern half and a wetter winter to the northern half.
You can see that pattern in the forecast map released Thursday (below): While the Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Northeast are forecast to see above-average precipitation, the Southwest, Southern and Gulf Coast states are all looking dry.
The seasonal temperature outlook is less obviously wintery, but it’s an improvement over last month, where no parts of the country were forecast to see colder-than-average weather.
The states from the Pacific Northwest to the western Great Lakes are most likely to see an extra-cold winter.
“The highest probabilities for above normal temperatures are found over the Gulf Coast States,” writes the Climate Prediction Center.
La Niña is favored to stick around all winter, with NOAA forecasters giving it a 76% chance of lasting through February. What happens in spring is less clear; meteorologists say there’s about a 50-50 chance we shift into an ENSO-neutral pattern, which means we’re neither seeing La Niña nor El Niño.