What’s winter going to look like for Missouri this year? It depends on who you ask.

With an El Niño, sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean near the equator are warmer than normal, resulting in temperatures in the south trending towards much cooler with increased precipitation, while above normal temperatures hang out in the northern part of the U.S.

It all depends on where the jet stream goes, which is expected to hover over Missouri, meaning that forecasters cannot predict what to expect just yet.

“A shift in that storm track by just a few hundred miles could mean the difference between above normal precipitation or below normal precipitation,” said Leasor. “So, we certainly have less confidence in that precipitation it can go either way, but we would expect those above normal temperatures.”

That’s University of Missouri climatologist Zack Leasor, who told Missourinet that any sort of precipitation can help the Show-Me State wade out the drought-like conditions the state has experienced for close to two years now.

“We really need not a normal or below normal winter, but we need that precipitation to be above normal to help kind of erase some of the deficits,” he said. “It’s not great to see this kind of uncertainty especially with the precipitation. We would like a clear wet signal, but at this point, there’s not a lot of confidence in that precipitation forecast for winter.”

Based on 30-year El Niño events, temperatures are typically seen above normal from the November to March time period, according to Leasor.

“Especially if you’re in the northern half of the state, the signal’s a little bit stronger,” he said. “So, we’ve got more confidence that temperatures will be warmer and more confidence in that temperature forecast than precipitation right now.”

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