The National Weather Service released its annual weather outlook Thursday, Oct. 19, for the 2017-18 winter weather season, with unfavorable predictions for much of the northern region of the United States.
According to forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), La Niña has a 55 to 65 percent chance of developing before winter sets in. La Niña is known as the positive phase of El Niño, and is associated with cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The last El Niña occurred as recently as 2016-17.
"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," according to Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. "Typical La Niña patterns during winter include above average precipitation and colder than average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the U.S. and below normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South."
The NOAA 2017-18 winter precipitation outlook from December through February predicts wetter-than-average conditions across most of the northern United States, including portions of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The temperature prediction outlook for this winter indicates below-average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the country from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest and into southeastern Alaska. According to the official NOAA U.S. winter outlook temperature map, all of North Dakota and much of northwestern Minnesota fall under the bubble of below-average temperatures. More than half of North Dakota is set to see temperatures even cooler than below-average, according to the map.
The U.S. Winter Outlook will be updated next on Nov. 16, 2017.