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NOAA REPORTS U.S. TO FACE ANOTHER COOL WINTER
October 18, 2001 For most of
the United States, winter 2001-02 will feel like a sequel to
last year's cold season, with sharp swings in temperature and
precipitation, including heavy lake-effect snows in the Northeast
and Midwest, cold air outbreaks in the South, and the potential
along the East Coast. (Click NOAA image for larger view of
winter weather outlook for 2001-2002.)
At a news conference in Washington,
D.C., officials from NOAA
released the nation's official winter outlook, and said the absence
of a strong El
Niño or La
Niña climate pattern leaves the door open for a highly
variable winter, which will impact the winter weather extremes
such as cold, snow, rain and ice that the nation may experience.
"We don't expect a repeat
of the record-breaking cold temperatures of November-December
of last year, but this winter should be cooler than the warm
winters of the late 1990s," said Scott
Gudes, NOAA's acting administrator. "Citizens should
prepare for the full range of winter weather."
Climate factors that influenced
last winter will play a similar role this season. They include:
the Arctic Oscillation, which influences the number of cold-air
outbreaks in the South and Nor'easters on the East Coast, and
the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which can impact the number of
heavy rain storms in the Pacific Northwest.
"This winter, NOAA's improving
technologies will help National Weather Service forecastersfor
the first timepinpoint when these factors will kick in
and bring extreme weather," said retired General Jack
Kelly, director of NOAA's National Weather Service. Kelly
noted that the nation is likely to experience large temperature
and precipitation swings during the winter.
- In the Northeast, colder-than-normal
temperatures are expected. Snowfall for the entire region will
depend on the fluctuations of the Arctic Oscillation.
- The Mid-Atlantic States
have equal chances of above normal, normal, or below-normal temperatures
and precipitation. Storm tracks could bring more snow than the
winters of the late 1990s, but this largely depends on the Arctic
- The Southeast should
be drier than normal. Temperatures have an equal chance of averaging
above normal, normal or below normal.
- In the upper Midwest and
Great Lakes, temperatures should be lower than normal, with
more sub-zero days than the average of recent winters. There
are equal chances for cumulative precipitation to be above normal,
normal, or below normal.
- The northern Great Plains
and Rockies should see below-normal temperatures with more
sub-zero days than experienced on average during the winters
of the late 1990s, but wet and mild weather is more likely for
the southern Plains. The central Rockies can expect equal chances
of above normal, normal, or below-normal precipitation and temperatures.
- In the Northwest, there
are equal chances for above normal, normal, or below-normal rain
and snow. Heavy coastal rain events are more likely compared
to the previous three winters. A repeat of the near-record dryness
seen last winter is unlikely.
- Expect warmer-than-normal
temperatures in most of the Southwest (except western
California) and equal chances of above normal, normal or below-normal
- Southwestern Alaska can expect a wet winter. The rest
of Alaska and all of Hawaii can expect equal chance
of above normal, normal, or below normal temperatures and precipitation.
The 2001-02 winter outlook
will be updated on Nov. 15, 2001 at 3 p.m. EDT. The winter outlook
is available online at NOAA's
Climate Prediction Center.
Click image for
FACTORS HELPING TO SHAPE WINTER 2001-2002
NOAA'S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAYS:
KNOW YOUR WINTER WEATHER TERMS
Relevant Web Sites
Climate Prediction Center
NOAA's Weather Page
National Weather Service
Carey or John Leslie,
NOAA's National Weather Service,