Don't expect another winter like last one! Daniel Davis is covered in snow and ice while clearing a sidewalk during a snow storm in Detroit in 2014 (- AP photos)
Don't expect another winter like last one!
Lexile

If you thought last winter was a horror show, with cold blasts from the polar vortex and a lack of California rain, there's some good news. No sequel is expected this year, federal forecasters say.

Mike Halpert of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that the upcoming winter looks pretty average in general. He doesn't expect a lot of extreme conditions like last year's cold outbreaks when Arctic air dipped south with the polar vortex.

"A repeat of last winter is not particularly likely," said Halpert, acting director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

That doesn't mean there won't be cold air and snow, which is normal for much of the country during winter, Halpert said. It just won't persist as much as it did last year, when extreme weather seemed to be stuck in place, he said.

Similarly, the high pressure ridge off the Pacific coast that last year kept rain out of California during its crucial winter rainy season is unlikely to return in force, Halpert said.

NOAA didn't predict last winter's extremes in last year's winter forecast.

For December through February, NOAA forecasts warmer-than-normal winter temperatures for most of the West, northern tier and northern New England. Expect cooler weather in the Southeast, and average temperatures elsewhere.

The agency predicts wetter-than-normal conditions stretching from Southern California to Florida and up to northern New Hampshire, with dry patches in the Pacific Northwest and Great Lakes. Average precipitation is forecast elsewhere.

A long-expected El Nino a warming of the tropical Pacific that changes weather worldwide makes last year's extremes less likely and the wetter, cooler south more likely, Halpert said.

Other private weather forecasters are predicting a slightly cooler winter than NOAA.

Judah Cohen, director of seasonal forecast at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Lexington, Massachusetts, has pioneered winter forecasts that link colder Eastern U.S. weather to years when there is more snow on the ground in Siberia in October. It's still early and October isn't finished, but the month has started out unusually snowy in Siberia. That preliminarily points to a cooler winter for east of the Mississippi River, he said.

Halpert said Cohen's method is intriguing. But NOAA needs more years to show that it works as a forecast tool.

Ryan Maue of the private WeatherBell Analytics of New York predicts that "a vast majority of the nation will experience significant periods of below-normal temperatures this winter, with the coldest temperatures (relative to normal) occurring in the Ohio Valley and up through the Eastern Plains."

Critical thinking challenge: Why do experts expect a milder winter this year than last year?

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COMMENTS (22)
  • BColton-Sti
    10/23/2014 - 11:11 a.m.

    I'm glad that we are not going to have a winter like last year. The only thing is that just because they say that were not going to have a winter like last year we cold still have one like that or we could have a worse one.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    10/23/2014 - 12:13 p.m.

    I do hate the cold more than anything, but the one thing I actually look forward to in winter is the snow. Snow storms mean no school, so the fact that they're predicting an average winter is a little upsetting.

  • TehyaWhite-Ste
    10/23/2014 - 01:18 p.m.

    It makes me feel good that they say that because last winter was so ridiculous. There was so much snow and we missed so much school. I'm just glad that it won't be a disaster.

  • CharismaM
    10/23/2014 - 01:47 p.m.

    I absolutely hate the cold! I do enjoy the snow though. I don't mind the winter if there's snow and if it's not below freezing outside all season long. But my absolute favorite part of the winter and it's abundance of snowstorms is that school gets canceled. Overall, I'm just glad that we won't be having a winter like last year's anytime soon.

  • MAnthony-Cas
    10/23/2014 - 04:52 p.m.

    The only thing I didn't like about last year's winter was how we were missing school days and had to make it back up in July. I'm actually thankful this year's snow weather will be better than last year's but I did like how we were able to miss all those days and get to sleep in.

  • AlexisKrise
    10/23/2014 - 06:16 p.m.

    Thank god! I do NOT want a repeat of last year's awful winter! It's all my parents could talk about, having to drive anywhere was a hassle with all that black ice! Black ice is deadly!

  • SoleilE-5
    10/23/2014 - 11:46 p.m.

    Researchers across the nation are observing weather patterns such as El Nino that will bring a winter calmer than last year's to the east coast. They say also expect a slightly more rainy and humid climate across the nation. However, Ryan Maue of the private WeatherBell Analytics of New york predicts a colder-than-normal winter in the Ohio Valley and up through the Eastern Plains.
    Even though I live in sunny California, I moved here from Boston where i left some cousins and friends. Last year, I heard countless complaints from them about the weather, "too cold to have usual winter fun in." Even though the school days they missed were filled were joy, those days were just added to the end of the school year when they couldn't wait to leave school. I hope the East Coast winter weather will be calmer than last year.

  • sl2000soccer
    10/24/2014 - 08:37 a.m.

    Experts expect a milder winter this year then last one because in Siberia, it is unusually snowy so they think it will be cooler around the east of the Mississippi river.

  • r2000soccer
    10/24/2014 - 08:39 a.m.

    experts expect a milder winter this year than last year because this year will colder than last year and a vast majority of the nation will experience significant periods of below-normal temperatures this winter, with the coldest temperatures (relative to normal)

  • IM2000food
    10/24/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    experts expect a milder winter this year because the a Arctic air dipped south with the polar vortex last year and they don't expect that to happen this year .

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