NOAA Winter 2009 Outlook

By Justin Logan - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT) - It still may be fall, but many people are wondering what the upcoming winter may bring. El Niño is expected to be a dominant factor that will influence the weather. In case you forgot what El Niño is, here is a quick refresher. It's the warming of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean that causes a shift in weather patterns.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Richard Okulski said this winter could be a wet one. "In general with El Niño we tend to see below normal temperatures in the southeast U.S. and above normal precipitation along the Gulf Coast."

But Okulski said closer to home the weather could be a bit different. "The Midsouth is generally in the area in between where we get equal chances both for above or below normal temperatures and above or below normal precipitation."

Okulski adds that our current cool and wet weather pattern that we have come to expect may continue. "Right now if the pattern holds of what we've seen of late, we could see that into November and December. Then perhaps a warm-up into January and February."

As meteorologists know it's hard enough to pin down a forecast seven days out because weather is constantly changing. When you are looking a few months in advance it makes it even harder.

Okulski said there are more factors that will affect our winter weather besides El Niño. "You have to remember that each El Niño event or La Niña event is different in terms of what oscillations. What is the ocean specifically doing."

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