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NOAA's Winter Weather Outlook 2000October 12, 2000 — The nation's top climate and weather experts at NOAA today announced the winter weather outlook for the United States, saying that the recent string of record warm winters may be over, as normal winter weather returns. "We've probably forgotten over the last three years what a normal winter is like," said NOAA Administrator D. James Baker. "With La Niña and El Niño out of the way, normal (defined as the period 1961-1990) winter weather has a chance to return to the U.S. this year."

(Click here to see video of NOAA news conference on October 12, 2000. You'll need RealPlayer to view this video.)

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. and National Weather Service Director Jack KellyAt a news conference today in Washington, D.C., NOAA's National Weather Service issued its official outlook for winter 2000-01. According to Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. and National Weather Service Director Jack Kelly, "As in most normal years, from New England to the Carolinas, cold weather will be part of your routine this winter. In Florida, the enhanced likelihood of warmer-than-normal-temperatures could be punctuated by cold air outbreaks, or ‘Florida Freezes'." (NOAA photo: Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. and National Weather Service Director Jack Kelly speaks at Washington, DC, news conference where he discussed the winter weather forecast.) (Click image for larger view.)

Kelly said, "Americans must be careful this winter and prepare for a little bit of everything." He added a reminder about the importance of NOAA Weather Radio, "We expect considerable swings in temperature and precipitation. Having the latest weather reports and warnings from NOAA Weather Radio will remain crucial this winter."

Click image for larger view.
NOAA's Winter Weather Forecast 2000

Regional Outlooks:

In the Northeast a polar jet stream and tropical jet stream will duel for supremacy, and the polar stream will win, bringing a greater chance of more snow along the spine of the Appalachians from New England to the Carolinas and points east, including Washington, D.C. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and D.C. could see average temperatures 4 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the last three winters.

Look for normal conditions in the Plains states (North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa) and Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Missouri). Cold air outbreaks will potentially lead to more days below zero and heavier lake-effect snow in the western portions of Pennsylvania and New York, northern Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and northeastern Minnesota. Minneapolis is expected to have average temperatures 6 degrees below the last three winters, while Chicago could see average temperatures 5 degrees lower;

In the Southeast, temperatures will likely be warmer than normal but slightly cooler than the last three years, with all Gulf Coast states (except Florida) favored to receive more precipitation than usual.

Areas in the West and Southwest, for example California and Nevada, will experience warmer-than normal temperatures;

The Pacific Northwest (Oregon and Washington) will experience a few more heavy rain events but near normal precipitation for the winter season as a whole; and Seattle could see average temperatures 1 degree below the last three winters.

Alaska can expect near normal temperatures and precipitation this winter.

"As we enter a period without the strong influences of El Niño or La Niña long-term seasonal outlooks become more challenging to produce," Baker said.

D. James Baker, NOAA Administrator, at Washington, DC, news conferenceAccording to Baker, "NOAA's gains in climate system research and advances in our computer modeling capabilities are making great strides. The Argo Ocean Profiling Network, being implemented with international partners, is a major step forward in establishing the global ocean observing system required to help weather forecasters and scientists better understand and predict the influences of climate events, but more needs to be done. (NOAA photo: D. James Baker, NOAA administrator, speaks at Washington, DC, news conference on winter weather forecast. He's standing next to Argo ocean buoy used to measure the climate.) (Click image for larger view.)

"We have made significant advances in our climate forecasting skills, but we have a lot of work to do," Baker said, adding that seasonal and climate forecasts will be as important in the 21st century as it was last century.

NOAA's budget request for 2001 includes $28 million for the Climate Observation and Services Initiative and $2.3 million for the modernization of our cooperative observer network, which are designed to improve climate observations and forecasts.

The 2000-01 winter outlook will be updated on the Web next on Nov. 16, 2000.

Click here for NOAA Winter Weather B-Roll (TRT: 6:58) (You'll need RealPlayer to view this video.)

1. NOAA 14 Polar Imagery (Fly Around) January 24-25th, 2000 East Coast Snow storm
2. GOES 8 Satellite Loops (Infrared and Water Vapor) January 24-25, 2000 East Coast Snowstorm
3. North Atlantic Oscillation Graphics (Wind Stress and Positive/Negative Phases)
4. ARGO Float Animation and Buoy Launch

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center

NOAA's National Weather Service

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, North Carolina

NOAA's Weather Page

Media Contacts:
Curtis Carey, NOAA's National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622 or Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000, ext. 7163