This winter could bring lower than average temperatures to some parts of the northern U.S., with warmer than average temperatures in the south and northeast, according to an outlook from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA.
But NOAA Climate Prediction Center forecasters say there’s a 55 to 65% chance of La Niña developing this year, which is “the biggest wildcard” in this year’s winter weather patterns, according to the NOAA’s Winter Outlook for the United States.
“If La Niña conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said in a release.
Overall, the NOAA is predicting a greater-than-30% chance of below-average winter temperatures for some northwestern and central northern parts of the U.S. Meanwhile, chances range from about 30% to over 50% for higher than normal temperatures in the southern U.S., across the middle of the country and up into the northeast, including Maine.
Hawaii and northwest Alaska also have higher odds of having a warmer winter, while there are better odds of a cooler than usual winter in southeast Alaska.
The NOAA is also predicting precipitation levels for the upcoming winter. Most of the northern U.S. has at least about a 30% chance of a wetter than usual winter, while much of the southern U.S. has odds between about 30% and greater than 50% of a drier than usual winter.
Northwest Alaska may be wetter than usual, while Hawaii has about 40% odds of being drier than usual.
The areas that fall into the unmarked sections of these maps have an equal chance of above-, near-, or higher-than-normal temperatures and precipitation levels, the NOAA says.