NOAA releases winter outlook

Photo courtesy: NOAA Climate Prediction Center

BISMARCK, N.D. - NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released their winter outlook for the U.S. Thursday.

The outlook is for December 2019 through February 2020.

For the Northern Plains, the CPC predicts equal chances for below, near, or above average temperatures, while they predict about a 33-40 percent chance for a wetter than average winter for central and northern North Dakota, and northeastern Montana, and a 40-50 percent chance for southern North Dakota, southeastern Montana, and northern South Dakota.

The winter outlook is based on climate patterns and trends, including El Nino and La Nina, to determine their influence on winter weather. The CPC says the absence of El Nino or La Nina means other trends will play a key role in predicting this year's winter.

“Without either El Nino or La Nina conditions, short-term climate patterns like the Arctic Oscillation will drive winter weather and could result in large swings in temperature and precipitation,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

For Bismarck, the average high temperature is 26.2 degrees in December, 23.4 degrees in January, and 28.3 degrees in February, based on 30 years of data from 1981-2010 from the National Weather Service.

In terms of snowfall, the same data shows the average monthly snowfall in Bismarck is 9.3 inches in December, 8.9 inches in January, and 8.1 inches in February.

However, based on records dating back to 1886 from the NWS, the normal yearly snowfall for Bismarck is 51.2 inches. Last year's snowfall was 60.3 inches.

The CPC updates their three-month outlook each month and the next update will be on Nov. 21.

Photo courtesy: NOAA Climate Prediction Center
Photo courtesy: NOAA Climate Prediction Center