What Will This Winter Be Like? National Weather Service Shares Winter 2018-2019 Outlook
We heard what the Old Farmer's Almanac has to say about this winter, but what about the folks at the National Weather Service and Climate Prediction Center? The buzz phrase for this winter is "El Niño".
As a refresher, the forecast from the Old Farmer's Almanac calls for a warmer and drier winter ahead for the 2018-2019 season. That kind of gels with what the Climate Prediction Center is saying, according to their recently-released season forecast.
As you can see in the map below, most of the United States can expect a greater likelihood of warmer than normal winter temperatures from the beginning of December through the end of February. The greatest likelihood of warmer temperatures is in the western half of the country, including all of Minnesota and Wisconsin. This is usually the case during most El Niño years. It is worth noting that while the average overall temperature forecast is likely to be warmer, there will still be periods of colder than normal temperatures. This is a general climate forecast, and not a daily weather prediction.
As far as precipitation goes, El Niño usually tends to lead to less precipitation across the northern part of the country, and more for the southern parts. That is the general forecast for the season ahead. Most of Minnesota and Wisconsin fall in the white "equal chance of either happening" area, but data from previous El Niño years would suggest that we probably shouldn't expect a particularly snowy winter this year. Again, that doesn't mean we won't see any major snowstorms, it just means we aren't as likely to see a particularly high amount of snow this winter.
In the end, we'll see what Mother Nature really wants to give us this winter, but that's what the scientists that study this stuff on a daily basis are thinking will happen this year.