NOAA releases its 2018-2019 winter outlook

Expected to be wetter than normal

ROANOKE, Va – Thursday the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its outlook for the upcoming winter.

NOAA is currently not forecasting any part of the U.S. to be below normal in the temperature department, but our region has an equal chance of being above or below normal according to their forecast.


NOAA is, however, forecasting a 33 percent chance for our area to see wetter than normal conditions.


A weak El-Niño is anticipated to be one of the driving forces for the season. The stronger the El-Niño is, the greater influence it will have on the season.

Typically when we are in an El-Niño pattern, we are wetter as the storm track is active for southern U.S. and Northeast. Combine that moisture with the cold and you typically get more snow. 


For the "big one," both the polar and subtropical jet streams are in play. In this scenario, the subtropical jet contains the moisture and the polar jet supplies the cold. This also enhances instability and creates these winter storms to intensify rapidly. 


Typically, but not always, our above average winters in the snowfall department are during an El-Niño.


With all of that said, there are other forces other than El-Niño or La-Niña that will drive the upcoming winter. The North Atlantic Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation, or the strength of the stratospheric polar vortex and the snow cover in Siberia are some of many players. A change in each one of these could have big implications as to how cold or how snowy our winter will be. The features mentioned above typically cannot be forecast as far out as El-Niño or La-Niña.

Storm Team 10 will release their winter outlook later in November. Stay tuned.

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