Sign In:

×

Last Step!

Please enter your public display name and a secure password.

Plan to post in the forums? Change your default forum handle here!

×
×

Winter 2020 NOAA Forecast: Warm Temps and No El Niño

NOAA is forecasting an abnormally warm Alaskan winter. National Park Service photo.

recent NOAA blog post has confirmed what climate enthusiasts have been suspecting for months: The El Niño of 2019 is officially over. Brushing over the complex analysis which led to that conclusion, we'll take a look at what that means for the North American winter sports community.

RELATED: Two Chilean Ski Resorts Close Due to Lack of Snow

In short, El Niño means that there is more energy in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean, which translates to more moisture coming off the ocean. The moisture moves east before falling in the form of above-average snowfall in the Cascades, Sierras, Rockies, and other ranges in the Southern and Western United States. 

So, it's a bummer that El Niño is over, but there are two major caveats: Firstly, it's not unheard-of for El Niño conditions to disappear during spring and summer and then re-emerge during the fall. In fact, forecasters think there's about a 30% chance of El Niño returning this fall, compared to a 50-55% chance of an ENSO-neutral winter. 

This brings us to our second caveat: An ENSO-neutral winter (winter without El Niño or La Niña) isn't necessarily a dry and boring winter. There are many other factors which combine to create the climatic conditions which we, skiers and snowboarders, would call "good" or "bad" winters. Just because El Niño seems to be over doesn't mean that you should cancel that mid-February trip to Snowbird.

NOAA is predicting a warm winter in Alaska. NOAA graphic.

Now we come to the second piece of NOAA's forecast: Temperature and precipitation. The above map is NOAA's current forecast for regional temperatures during the months of January, February, and March 2020 relative to normal. The vast majority of the lower-48 is predicted to see higher-than-normal temperatures during those months, as is Alaska. 

NOAA is playing it close to the vest on precipitation. NOAA graphic.

Unless you live in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or Alaska, NOAA doesn't have much to say about the precipitation levels you can expect in January, February, and March 2020. The notation "EC" means that there is an equal chance of average, below-average, and above-average precipitation during that period. So, it's not great news, but it's not awful news either. As is always the case with long-range climate forecasting, there is very little certainty assigned to these predictions, so we'll just have to wait, hope, and see what happens.

i wish the weather would be better for our future generation
<a >Supplier Medal</a>

I used that Arizona where I live and my neighbor states has already started warning up near 70s Phoenix in 80s now we only had few days of freezing cold now warmed up significantly and rapidly near 70 next week no rain no snow nothing forecasted for us till maybe summer of 2020 we might get rain again or what. But Flagstaff is very warm like bv spring summer like heat I expect no winter this year for Flagstaff area other states too same snow will stay up in northern tier into Canada Eastern u.s. will be below normal colder temperatures there snow there so it’s too bad that calif and Arizona will see lots of fires due to heat here this year and 2020 we expect it to get worse

Play
READ THE STORY
These Eco-friendly Alternatives to Plastic are Something to Celebrate About
Up Next News

These Eco-friendly Alternatives to Plastic are Something to Celebrate About

These Eco-friendly Alternatives to Plastic are Something to Celebrate About

All it takes is one quick trip to the grocery store to see that we consume an absurd amount of single-use plastic. Your toothpaste tube is plastic. The pasta you bought for dinner is packaged in plastic. Your favorite granola bars come in—you’ve probably guessed already—plastic. If you don’t want to hear any more depressing news reports about dead whales full of plastic, then we’ve got to do more than recycling our water bottles and hummus containers. We need to find an alternative for all

Play
READ THE STORY
BLM Cancels Plan to Auction 85,000 Acres Near Moab to Oil & Gas
Up Next News

BLM Cancels Plan to Auction 85,000 Acres Near Moab to Oil & Gas

BLM Cancels Plan to Auction 85,000 Acres Near Moab to Oil & Gas

Over the past winter, oil and gas companies designated over 100,000 acres of land under the Bureau of Land Management's jurisdiction which they hoped to lease for hydrocarbon extraction. About 85,000 of the total 100,000 acres were cleared to be leased after an environmental review, with the auction scheduled for September 2020. RELATED: Climber Rescued from Crevasse on Grand Teton Recreation access-focused organizations such as Access Fund took exception, arguing that to lease the land would

Play
READ THE STORY
Catastrophic Oil Spill Wreaks Havoc on Mauritius’ Coastline
Up Next News

Catastrophic Oil Spill Wreaks Havoc on Mauritius’ Coastline

Catastrophic Oil Spill Wreaks Havoc on Mauritius’ Coastline

Two weeks ago a Japanese cargo ship hit a reef off the coastline of Mauritius and subsequently leaked 1,000 metric tons of oil into the island’s delicate marine ecosystem. Right now this spill has released more oil than the combined total of every oil tanker spill of 2019. Unfortunately, things are expected to get much worse. The crack in the hull’s ship—the original culprit for the spill—is expected to worsen and release the remaining 1,800 metric tons of fuel, oil, and diesel on board.