Outlook For Mild Winter
BY SAMAR FAY COURIER EDITOR
Published: Thursday, October 25th, 2012
This winter in Eastern Montana might be just what Goldilocks ordered: not too cold, not too dry, just right.
The long-term 2012 winter outlook released last week from NOAA’s new Center for Weather and Climate Prediction in College Park, Md., puts this area in a slot of “equal chance” for above-, near- or below-normal precipitation, with drier-than-average conditions in the West and Northwest (including western Montana) on one side and the upper Midwest (including eastern parts of the Dakotas) on the other side.
The temperature predictions say eastern Montana might be warmer than normal this year, along with much of the central and northern plains, the northern Rockies, Texas, the southwest and eastern Washington, Oregon and California.
NOAA forecasters said that a “wavering El Niño” out in the Pacific was making forecasting more difficult than usual.
“This is one of the most challenging outlooks we’ve produced in recent years because El Niño decided not to show up as expected,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “In fact, it stalled out last month, leaving neutral conditions in place in the tropical Pacific.”
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