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Oct. 21 — NOAA released its U.S. Winter Outlook update for December 2004 through February 2005, which continues to call for warmer-than-normal conditions in the West and Alaska, and cooler-than-normal conditions in the South and in sections of the Middle Atlantic Coast States.

For precipitation, NOAA’s Outlook calls for drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley and wetter-than-average conditions over parts of the South. In Hawaii, temperatures are expected to be above average with precipitation below average. Elsewhere, there are equal chances of above, below and normal temperatures.

Winter outlook maps: Temperature; Precipitation

Currently, NOAA is monitoring a weak El Niño in the tropical Pacific, which is expected to continue into early 2005. However, NOAA’s scientists predict this El Niño will remain much weaker than the 1997-1998 El Niño event.

“El Niño wintertime impacts over the United States vary considerably depending on the character of the warming in the tropical Pacific,” said Dr. Vernon Kousky, NOAA’s lead El Nino/Southern Oscillation forecaster. “While we are carefully monitoring this current El Niño episode, we are expecting other climate patterns to play an equally important role in this winter’s weather.”

NOAA scientists say the leading climate patterns expected to impact this winter's weather are long-term climate trends and features such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Pacific/North American pattern (PNA), which influence the jet stream and the track storms take across the eastern Pacific and North America. In addition, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) can affect winter weather in the Northeast by altering the jet stream over the North Atlantic and adjacent areas. “These climate patterns are the physical basis for this season's winter outlook and updates like the one presented today,” said Dr. Wayne Higgins, principal climate scientist at NOAA’s CPC. Full story on climate factors helping to shape Winter 2004-2005.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is a part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Media contacts:

Carmeyia Gillis (301) 763-8000, ext. 7163

Related Web sites:

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center:

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  Page last modified: 11-Mar-2010 9:35 AM