The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting warmer and drier than normal conditions in much of Missouri for December, January and February.
Deputy Director of the Administration’s Climate Prediction Center Mike Halpert says NOAA’s winter outlook calls for above normal temperatures in, “much of Texas northward through the Central and Northern Plains and westward across the Southwest, the Northern Rockies and the eastern halves of Washington, Oregon and California as well as the northern two-thirds of Alaska.”
The northern half of Missouri is also predicted to have below normal precipitation in December, January and February, with equal chances of above or below normal precipitation in the southern half of the state.
As for whether or not this year’s historic drought will continue, the report doesn’t cover that but Halpert refers to the climate center’s drought outlook that extends to about halfway through January.
“The large majority of that drought we expect to persist. Kind of a negative thing is that we even see drought expanding westward along the northern tier, so into Montana and Idaho and parts of Oregon and Washington. Really, if you look at the precipitation forecast, the favored category where there is one is all for “below.”
The outlook is based on what are seen as the mostly likely probable outcomes, but Halpert says they could change. One variable is what he calls an “indecisive El Nino” this year.
“Typically by mid October we have a clear picture of the emerging climate factors that will influence the winter season, including whether El Nino or La Nina will occur. That has not been the case this year, however. A few months ago El Nino appeared likely to develop and persist through the winter but its development abruptly halted last month and sea surface temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific have largely returned to normal. We do still see some signs, however, that El Nino could still develop over the next few months and that possibility was taken into account for this outlook.”