NOAA has released it’s official outlook for the 2009-10 Winter (Dec-Jan-Feb). Unofficial discussions of NOAA’s outlook were posted in this blog as well as Paul Yeager’s blog. Looking back at those posts, the official forecast from NOAA has not changed much at all. In fact the precipitation map looks nearly identical:
Above average precipitation is expected along the West Coast and in the South. Below normal precip is forecast for the Ohio and southern Mississippi River Valleys as well as the Pacific Northwest. This appears to fall in line with Joe Bastardi’s prediction mentioned a couple days on this blog. A southern storm track would certainly yield above normal precip for the areas noted above.
The official temperature outlook has changed a little, although the overall pattern remains the same:
When compared to the previous outlooks, you’ll note there is no longer an area of >50% chance of above normal temperatures in the northern US along the Canadian border. Also, this area of above average temps has been reduced along its’ eastern and southeastern edges. In previous outlooks, places like Chicago and St. Louis were firmly implanted in the above-average zone. Now, Chicago is very much on the edge while St. Louis appears in the “equal chances” area.
In that same vein, the area of below normal temperatures in the southeast has expanded north and west to include such cities as San Antonio, Memphis, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia that were not forecast to experience below normal temperatures in the previous outlooks.
Again, I think this outlook from NOAA falls in line with Bastardi’s predictions. He forecast above-normal temps in the Northwest and northern Central Plains regions and cooler temperatures in the southeast. So, it seems like we have some agreement, right? Well, I’m not sure. NOAA believes El Nino will strengthen and persist during the Winter while Bastardi believes it will weaken and fade. Both forecasters believe their El Nino prediction will play a big part in the Winter weather. Yet, somehow, they end up with the same forecast despite predicting the opposite for El Nino.
If Farmer’s Almanac proves more accurate, I’m going to enjoy a good laugh come March.