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NOAA winter outlook: Lacking any major influences, anything goes for Colorado

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NOAA released its annual winter outlook and it contained few clues as to what the Centennial State can expect from Mother Nature in the coming months.

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Lacking El Niño or La Niña conditions in the Pacific, the agency said climatic influences are at a minimum and as such nothing points to any particular trend in terms of temperature or precipitation for most of Colorado.

For the northern 80% of the state including the Denver metro area and Front Range, equal chances of above, below and at normal temperatures and precipitation are given. This means that from December to February, just about anything goes.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center does predict drier and warmer than normal conditions for the extreme southern parts of the state. With much of that area still suffering from some drought conditions, that is not a welcome report.

For the rest of the nation, Texas and other parts to our south that have been in long term drought, no relief is expected.

“Drought has been an ongoing concern across parts of the Southwest and Texas for nearly three years, and after some relief during the past few months, drought is likely to redevelop during winter,” NOAA wrote.

The northern Rockies in Montana and northern Wyoming are expected to see above normal levels of precipitation.

In terms of temperatures, the northern Plains are forecast to be colder than normal. Above average temperatures are predicted for the same drought stricken areas of the nation’s southwest.

Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, said “Without this strong seasonal influence, winter weather is often affected by short-term climate patterns, such as the Arctic Oscillation, that are not predictable beyond a week or two. So it’s important to pay attention to your local daily weather forecast throughout the winter.”

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