Preliminary outlook for the upcoming winter looking warmer than normal


Now that the heat of summer is winding down, I start to get questions about what to expect from the upcoming winter. With that in mind, here is what you might call a preliminary look at what we might see in the months ahead.

First, let me share the latest winter outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. They provide a rather general look at how the winter months will compare to what is normal in both temperatures and precipitation.
The CPC outlook for winter temperatures shows that the ArkLaTex has a better chance of seeing above-normal temperatures during the months of December, January, and February. The precipitation outlook from CPC indicates that we have an equal chance of seeing above or below normal rainfall. That pretty much means that we should expect to see near-normal rain.

Many things contribute to the type of weather patterns that we experience during the course of the year. One of the biggest players in determining our weather patterns are temperatures in the world’s oceans. There are several SST (sea surface temperature) indices that are created. There is a correlation that exists between the temperature of various parts of the Pacific and Atlantic and the type of weather patterns that we see in the United States and throughout the world. You have probably heard of El Nino and La Nina, right?

I looked at the ONI index (Pacific) and the AMO index (Atlantic). Looking back at data from these two indices that go back to 1950, I found that the state of the ONI and AMO are very similar to what they were back in 2012. That being said, it’s possible to create a certain degree of expectation for this winter by looking back at what it was like in 2012. So if this year is similar to 2012, we might expect to experience above-normal temperatures and slightly below normal rainfall. Not surprisingly, this is very similar to the CPC’s outlook. However, since I’m only looking at one year, I can also answer a few more detailed questions about the winter such as the warmest and coldest temperatures of the winter and whether or not it will snow.

So let’s go month-to-month and answer a few questions as to what we might experience in both Shreveport and Texarkana. If this winter follows the path similar to 2012, it appears that we could see some of the coldest temperatures of the winter in December. Ironically, both Shreveport and Texarkana will likely have above-normal temperatures. It also appears that we will see slightly above normal precipitation in December with some snow possible. Back in 2012, the northern parts of the ArkLaTex received a vew inches of snow.

We shouldn’t see too much change in the weather pattern for January. Both Shreveport and Texarkana will again see above-normal temperatures although the average will not be as far above average. However, notice that the lowest temperatures are actually warmer than those in December. We should again expect to see near-normal rainfall. Odds are against seeing much snow in January.

If the weather patterns experienced back in the winter of 2012-13 continue into February, we will see cooler temperatures relative to what is normal. However, temperatures might not dip too far below freezing. Cooler temperatures usually mean drier air, so it’s no surprise that February could be the driest month of the winter. Even though temperatures could average out to be a little cooler, it looks unlikely that we will see much snow in February.

In summary, the current outlook for the upcoming winter is looking warmer than normal with near-average rainfall. Chances are that we will not dip into the teens this winter, although we could come close in December. If you are a fan of snow, we could see an above-average chance of seeing some ‘white stuff’. Obviously, it’s only October so this outlook could change. Stay Tuned!

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