ATLANTA, GA — Northern Georgia, had a mild winter last year, and that trend is likely to continue in 2017-2018, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In a long-range forecast issued Thursday, NOAA predicted drier than average conditions and warmer than normal temperatures in the Peach State and the rest of the South.
The authority predicts La Nina conditions will develop this year, for the second year in a row. This means that sea surface temperatures across the east-central equatorial Pacific are lower than usual, and winter temperatures are typically warmer in the southern and eastern parts of the country. La Nina has a 55 to 65 percent chance of developing this year, according to NOAA forecasters. (For more news like this, find your local Patch here. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app.)
“If La Nina conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Typical La Nina patterns during winter include above average precipitation and colder than average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the U.S. and below normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South.”
Halpert told reporters that this winter is unlikely to be as balmy as the previous two, but don’t look for a gripping polar vortex either.
“The odds of seeing three top 10 [warmest winters in a row] is reduced, not eliminated,” Halpert said, according to the Capital Weather Gang. “We’re not anticipating the kind of record warmth we’ve seen the last two winters.”
But, he said “there was nothing to indicate” that outbreaks of the polar vortex similar to the winter of 2013-2014 are looming. Extreme cold usually can’t be predicted until about a week or so in advance, Halpert said, so stay tuned.
NOAA’s forecast also differs from other long-range forecasts. The Farmers’ Almanac predicted in August that this winter is expected to be cold and rainy in the Southeast. The report calls for “below-normal” temperatures in the region.
And the Old Farmer’s Almanac forecast for Georgia calls for winter to be warmer than normal, with below-normal precipitation. The coldest periods will be in early January and early February, while the best chances for snow will come in early January and early February.
Also weighing in is Accuweather, which says the Peach State could have temperatures above normal this winter.
NOAA added that its forecast does not predict seasonal snowfall accumulations, but likelihood of precipitation.”Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance because they depend upon the strength and track of winter storms,” The NOAA release read.
Photo Credit: Lanning Taliaferro/Patch; maps and video from NOAA
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Originally published Oct 20, 2017.