Just like the annual Old Farmer’s Almanac, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) releases a winter outlook each year, looking specifically at winter temperatures and precipitation. Despite the recent cold and snow seen in some parts of the country, both the Almanac and NOAA are still predicting a less severe winter for most of the United States!
Notably, NOAA’s winter outlook is made just a few months before winter, whereas the Almanac’s long range forecasts—which have a historical average accuracy rate of 80%—are created more than twelve months in advance.
HOW DO OUR WINTER FORECASTS COMPARE?
In the Almanac’s 2018–2019 Winter Forecast, we’re predicting the development of a weak El Niño early this winter, which is expected to prevent cold air from making lasting inroads into the northern half of the country. Similarly, NOAA’s winter outlookgives El Niño conditions a “70 to 75 percent chance” of developing. To put it simply, this means that warmer-than-normal winter temperatures are likely in store for most of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
But what does “most of the United States” mean, exactly? Well, that’s one place where our forecasts disagree: NOAA predicts that everywhere except for the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Appalachians, and Ohio Valley will see warmer-than-normal temperatures, while we believe that the Southwest part of the country will be the only area to see below-normal temperatures. Generally speaking, though, a majority of states should expect milder winter temperatures.
Our winter predictions also differ when it comes to precipitation, specifically in terms of where and how much precipitation certain areas should expect to get:
- The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting drier-than-normal conditions for the Southeast and Texas-Oklahoma regions, while NOAA’s outlook gives the entire southern part of the U.S. a good chance of being wetter than normal.
- The Almanac also believes that the Northeast, Ohio Valley, West Coast, and most of the Intermountain region are in for a wetter winter this year, whereas NOAA gives these areas equal chances of being wetter or drier than normal.
- Finally, although NOAA refrains from making predictions of snowfall in their winter outlook, the Almanac expects the Desert Southwest, Intermountain region, and parts of the Heartland to see a snowier season than normal.
Both the NOAA outlook and our own forecast point towards a less severe winter for most of the United States this year. In any case, we hope that you get the weather you want!
READ OUR FULL WINTER FORECAST
Additionally, find two months of free forecasts on our Long Range Weather Forecast pages.