NOAA: Warmer, drier pattern expected winter 2020-21
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - There is a good chance that winter in the Big Bend and South Georgia will be warmer and drier.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, released their seasonal forecast Thursday, predicting a greater odds of above-normal temperatures and below-average rainfall from southern California eastward into the Southeast. Locations from the Pacific Northwest eastward to the Upper Midwest have a better probability of seeing cooler-than-normal temperatures, and a greater chance of above-normal precipitation from the Great Lakes and northern Ohio River Valley westward to Washington and Oregon.
The pattern of predicted extremes resembles a La Niña phase in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Opposite of El Niño, La Niña is the cooler waters off of the western South American coast near the equator thanks to stronger trade winds that allow for more upwelling. The phase allows for a blocking high pressure pattern to take shape in the northeastern Pacific Ocean, keeping the jet stream and storm systems a little farther north. There is an 85% chance of La Niña pattern to stick around for the winter season.
For the viewing area, there is a 50% to a 60% chance of below-normal rainfall and above-average temperatures according to NOAA’s forecast. With a better chance of lower rainfall totals from December through February, that could set the stage for drought conditions in the Big Bend and South Georgia. NOAA did highlight the area under a threat for a “developing” drought.
The pattern is not good news for those in agriculture that rely on the winter rainfall. The pattern is also disappointing for those in the West and Rocky Mountains where wildfires have raged for much of 2020.
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