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ENSO conditions unlikely to impact Winter

NOAA image of forecast winter temperatures for the USA. Nov. 17, 2005 As meteorological winter approaches, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center issued the final update to the 2005-2006 U.S. Winter Outlook. For December through February, the outlook continues to call for this winter to be warmer than the 30-year average. As stated in CPC’s El Niño Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion from November 10, ENSO-neutral or weak La Niña conditions are likely during the next six to nine months. However, ENSO conditions are expected to have little or no impact on the United States this coming winter. (Click NOAA image for larger view of forecast winter temperatures for the USA. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.)

The update calls for warmer-than-average temperatures across much of central and western United States, including Hawaii, the Great Plains and Midwest. The Northeast, East Coast, Gulf Coast states and Southern California coast are in equal chances.

NOAA image of forecast winter precipitation for the USA. The precipitation outlook calls for wetter-than-average conditions in Hawaii and drier-than-average conditions in sections of the Southeast, including Florida and parts of the Southeast and Gulf Coast; with equal chances elsewhere in the nation. (Click NOAA image for larger view of forecast winter precipitation for the USA. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.)

“Equal chances, for temperature or precipitation, means there are no strong or consistent climate signals for either above or below normal conditions during the season,” said Edward O’Lenic, lead outlook forecaster at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. “Therefore, the selected area has an equal chance of warmer than, cooler than or near normal,” he added. This outlook is based on the expected average for the entire winter season, December 2005 through February 2006.

“Already wintry weather has begun in many parts of the nation and the key to safety is for people to be prepared before winter storms strike,” said James D. Laver, director of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center. NOAA has a plethora of weather and safety information online to help keep you safe. Also, NOAA Weather Radio All-Hazards is a nationwide radio network broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service forecast office. NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts NOAA Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other emergency information 24 hours a day.

Meteorological winter begins December 1 while astronomical winter begins December 21.

NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

Relevant Web Sites
Climate Factors Helping to Shape Winter 2005-2006

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion

NOAA National Climatic Data Center

NOAA Winter Weather Preparedness

Media Contact:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163