Posted: Oct 18, 2012 1:51 PM by Mike Rawlins - MTN News
The official winter outlook issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is calling for warmer than average temperatures in Montana.
However, forecasters at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center say this is one of the toughest outlooks due to an uncertain El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean.
When El Nino is present, the overall flow of storm systems is altered and typically leads to warmer air sitting over the northern U.S.
El Nino was expected to develop already, but current data shows neutral conditions in the Pacific.
According to NOAA, the 2012 Winter Outlook (December-February) favors:
Warmer-than-average temperatures in much of Texas, northward through the Central and Northern Plains and westward across the Southwest, the Northern Rockies, and eastern Washington, Oregon and California, as well as the northern two-thirds of Alaska.
- Cooler-than-average temperatures in Hawaii and in most of Florida, excluding the panhandle.
- Dryer-than-average conditions in Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest and Northern California, including Idaho, western Montana, and portions of Wyoming, Utah and most of Nevada.
- Dryer-than-average conditions in the upper Midwest, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and northern Missouri and eastern parts of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, and western Illinois.
- Wetter-than-average conditions across the Gulf Coast states from the northern half of Florida to eastern Texas.