Winter weather projections: What some are already predicting for the Midwest

Weather

In this file photo, a group of kids from Wisconsin play in the snow. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

Temperatures may not have budged from 80s and 90s in Kansas City, but national forecasters are already looking ahead to what type of weather we’ll see once fall turns to winter.

As of Thursday, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center says there’s a 70% chance of La Niña returning between November 2021 and January 2022.

“It really depends where you are in the United States. It will vary by location,” explains NOAA climate scientist Michelle D’Heureux. “The southern tier during a La Niña is often drier than average during the winter, and that often extends into spring.”

A La Niña winter could have implications on storm activity, flooding and even drought, depending on what region you live in.

Last week, the Farmer’s Almanac broke out a series of predictions for the continental United States by region, based on their proprietary methodology. Here’s a look at some of the takeaways:

  • The central United States stretching from Canada to Texas could see well below normal temperatures for much of winter, with normal or slightly below normal projected along the East Coast. The Almanac does not predict a full repeat of the frigid chill that hit Kansas, Missouri, Texas and more early this year.
  • The West and Pacific Northwest will likely see a typical winter weather pattern, including some big storms, but it won’t be enough to turn around the drought plaguing those states.
  • The Almanac predicts many states will be hit with heavy precipitation in mid-January before milder conditions take over in February. March is expected to mirror the rest of the season, with periods of calm broken up by heavy storms.

The Farmer’s Almanac website offers more detailed projections broken out by region. But even if you are a believer, there’s reason to operate with caution before firming up your plans based on the analysis.

“Even though The Farmer’s Almanac can be correct in their prognosticating, it’s really not possible to predict what the second week of January will hold in terms of how snowy, stormy or even how cold it’ll be,” said digital meteorologist Christine Gregory from Nexstar’s WROC. “Long-range forecasting is not an exact science, but we can use clues such as teleconnections, statistics or other climate signals to make generalized predictions.”

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center makes three-month projections available online. As of July 15, it saw widespread warm temperatures coming for much of the fall, with dry conditions continuing in the West while the East and South see a chance for increased precipitation. Still, even those projections aren’t set in stone.

“Forecasts change because the weather changes every day,” Gregory said. “Any stray from the forecast will cause a ripple in every other forecast going forward.”

The FOX4 Weather Team makes its annual winter weather predictions for Kansas City in November.

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