NOAA: Warmer winter expected as La Niña strengthens

A warmer overall winter doesn’t always mean we avoid freezing weather.

2020 winter outlook

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - NOAA has released their winter outlook and it’s calling for above-normal temperatures across the southern two-thirds of the nation.

The main weather driver this winter will be La Niña which usually means our weather is drier than normal and warmer. Locations in the northern Plains and Northwest United States are expecting a colder than normal winter.

Typically with a La Niña pattern the months of December through February see fewer Arctic outbreaks making it down to the Gulf Coast. The subtropical jet is also weaker which leads to less rain and more sunshine.

NOAA winter rainfall outlook
NOAA winter rainfall outlook (Source: FOX 8 Weather)

I must caution you though that La Niña winters can bring sneaky cold spells for us here along the Gulf Coast. Of course the overall theme this winter will be warmer than normal but significant freezes many times happens during La Niña winters. In fact, the last snow event and significant freeze event locally occurred in years that La Niña was a pronounced factor.

Does a La Niña cancel winter?
Does a La Niña cancel winter? (Source: FOX 8 Weather)

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