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)
  • TF00Music
    10/24/2014 - 01:09 p.m.

    The experts say that the last winter for this winter is highly unlikely. They predicted it to be better because the pacific changes and it was warmer witch means that the weather may change worldwide.

  • Haley Patterson
    10/24/2014 - 01:27 p.m.

    I'm glad we are not going to have another winter like last year. I hated how school days were cancelled and how we hardly had a summer because we were still making up school. I love winter, but last year kind of turned me on it. Hopefully this year it won't be as bad, but I don't want it to be to the point where we don't have hardly enough snow to do anything fun.

  • Ashleypatt
    10/24/2014 - 01:42 p.m.

    it says a warming of the tropical Pacific that changes weather worldwide makes last year's extremes less likely and the wetter, cooler south more likely. Im glad we might not have a winter like last year because we missed a good bit of days of school and we got far behind in school. To me i think we will get alot of snow because its very very cold out and very very windy out we dont have alot of nice days now. It could be we get alot of snow or we dont this year. It all depends on what the weather wants to do. I hope we dont have a crazy winter because i dont like to miss school and fall behind in work.

  • cp2000nirvana
    10/27/2014 - 08:39 a.m.

    last winter was horrible blizzards, ice rain and a lot of snow it think its nice to know that this winter will be better than the last

  • m4rc05
    10/27/2014 - 02:29 p.m.

    I'm so glad that there wont be another winter like the last one because it was really cold and there was too much snow.

  • LDakota-Sti
    10/28/2014 - 12:38 p.m.

    because of the cold front that is moving in at a fast pace from all the hot days and unexpected cold day during the summer.

  • LAlanie-Sti
    10/28/2014 - 02:51 p.m.

    They say that there wont be another winter like last year but that's not necessarily true we could have the same or worse. Its kinda up setting that we are predicted to have a average winter because I like the winter to be at its fullest.

  • colleenl-Ste
    10/29/2014 - 12:38 p.m.

    Reading this article makes me beyond happy. Don't get me wrong, I love snow and all, but there's a line between just enough and too much. Last year the weather surpassed this line by a mile.

  • GMauricio-Sti
    10/31/2014 - 10:25 a.m.

    last year was the worst but I think this is going to be the worst. I think more people will get frostbites during the winter.

  • jgrabowsky-Cla
    10/31/2014 - 01:30 p.m.

    I am relieved that this winter will not be as cold as last winter because I hate the cold. Also, because I will not need to wear layers upon layers of clothing.

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