La Niña to bring warmer, drier winter to Southeast

Posted October 21, 2021 12:16 p.m. EDT

— The chances for a white Christmas in North Carolina are already looking slim.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center on Thursday issued its outlook for December though next February, calling for above-average temperatures and drier-than-average conditions across the Southeast. NOAA cited La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean for the winter weather pattern.

“Consistent with typical La Niña conditions during winter months, we anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S., while much of the South experiences above-normal temperatures,” Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch at the Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

While warmer-than-average conditions are most likely across the Southern tier of the U.S. and much of the Eastern U.S., the greatest likelihood of above-average temperatures will be in the Southeast, officials said.

Below-average temperatures are favored for the Pacific Northwest eastward to the northern Plains.

The Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes and parts of the Ohio Valley have the greatest chances for wetter-than-average conditions, according to NOAA. Drier-than-average conditions are favored in southern California, the Southwest and the Southeast.

The forecast for the remainder of the U.S. shows equal chances for below-, near- or above-average precipitation during the winter months.

Widespread severe to exceptional drought will continue to dominate the western half of the U.S., the northern Plains and the Missouri River Basin, while drought conditions are forecast to persist and develop in the Southwest and southern Plains.

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