–Paul Yeager, author of Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities
UPDATED AUGUST 2010: An initial 2010-2011 winter forecast has been issued (by AccuWeather).
Update: The official NWS Winter Outlook has been released since this post was written; it can be seen at NOAA Winter Outlook.
I’ve already written about a couple of long-range winter forecasts (Snowy, Cold Winter on the Way, Harsh 2010 Winter Is Forecast) and a key to the winter forecast in the Northeast (Cold in the Northeast this Winter–Look to Siberia), but the National Weather Service has yet to issue its official winter forecast.
In a sense, though, they already have–in the form of a December through January long-range forecast–that sounds like the winter to me. It just hasn’t been accompanied by a press release and an official announcement. I guess they could change the forecast before the official release (or it could include November and February), but here’s what they’re forecasting at this point:
December through February Temperature Probability
Not surprisingly, the forecast has somewhat the look of a typical El Nino winter, with warmer-than-normal temperatures forecast across the northern Plains and Pacific Northwest and cooler-than-normal temperatures forecast in the Deep South.
December through February Precipitation Probability
This also has an El Nino-look to it, with a wetter-than-normal forecast for the Deep South and a drier-than-normal forecast for the Northwest and parts of the Midwest.
Remember, the forecasting scheme used the government is a probability scheme, indicating the likelihood of temperatures/precipitation being above normal, below normal, or equal chance of being either (which sounds like NO forecast to me); it’s not a forecast of the amount above or below, and it does not include a snowfall forecast, just a general precipitation forecast.
I think it has limited usefulness when compared to more detailed forecasts, but it’s interesting nonetheless.