Chill Out - Maine Could Have A Milder-Than-Average Winter

Christopher Davidson
October 20, 2018

The National Weather Service on Thursday predicted a warmer than normal winter for the northern and western three-quarters of the nation.

According to NOAA, in ME, the three-month average snowfall in Portland, across December, January and February, is 14.8 inches, in Bangor 16.1 inches, and in Caribou, 23.4 inches. But there isn't anywhere in the country who are definitely due for a colder-than-normal winter.

But North and SC, along with much of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley, "all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures", NOAA said. It is expected to be weaker than the El Nino that developed during the 2015/2016 winter.

Mike Halpert, Deputy Director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, says their forecast calls for above average temperatures and below average precipitation for both the Lower and Upper Peninsula.

Winter looks wet and especially mild for much of the country, thanks to a weak El Nino brewing, US meteorologists said.

Broadly speaking, "El Nino" refers to a climate effect caused by warming sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean.

There's a lot more than just an El Nino pattern that determines how winter will play out.

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Winter weather expert Judah Cohen, of the private company Atmospheric and Environmental Research, uses different indicators to predict winter for the National Science Foundation. During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the US can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North.

On its temperature forecast map, the Carolinas and much of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic are all colored white, while the rest of the country is cast in reds and oranges, since those areas are expected to be warmer.

Kentucky has equal chances for both above and below average temperatures according to NOAA's outlook.

The Climate Prediction Center's outlook seems to at least indirectly contradict the one released by the 2019 Farmers' Almanac, an annual Lewiston-based publication which uses a mathematical and astronomical formula created in 1818 to come up with long-range forecasts.

The southern states of the US, as well as those in the Mid-Atlantic, are expected to receive above-normal precipitation. The chances are highest in southeastern Georgia and much of northern and central Florida. The real teeth-chattering arrives mid-February especially in the following zones: "Northeast/New England, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, Midwest, and Southeast (yes, even the Southeast will be in the chill zone!)".

Drought conditions are most likely across the Southwest, Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains, and parts of the interior Pacific Northwest.

-This outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are generally not easily predicated more than a week in advance.

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