Author: Carol

The U.S. Winter Outlook Isn’t a Forecast

The U.S. Winter Outlook Isn’t a Forecast

The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California, which should have been spared the worst of the dryness. This is just the latest in an ongoing series, as I noted in a previous post:

January saw a wet winter across much of the northern U.S. – but only in the north. In the Pacific Northwest, we saw the first above normal snow cover this winter, and all things considered, it was a great winter for snow (in fact, it was the 11th warmest winter on record across North America). The winter in California was far from stellar, as the latest winter outlook released by NOAA predicted above normal snow, but not necessarily the same for the southern part of the state.

As I noted in a previous post about the latest U.S. winter outlook:

According to NOAA’s winter outlook for the West, the U.S. was forecast to see above normal snow in January. However, it was only for the North. California, Alaska, and southern Canada could see above normal snow for the first time in a decade.

As I also wrote then:

In the winter, it’s pretty simple: snow or no snow, it’s still cold.

We’ve now seen a similar winter outlook for the U.S. in almost three years, and the last winter outlook was one of the best of the past 15 years. As to why we only see that forecast for the northern half of the country, some are pointing to a major influence of tropical cyclones. This winter saw a large number of storms, which are a major influence in the winter, but the U.S. is far from a tropical cyclone belt.

The winter outlook is, of course, a general statement about the winter season – it doesn’t predict any single event. The one exception is the possibility of below normal cold temperatures, which could have serious repercussions across a number of states, including California. However, the forecast for the winter doesn’t predict any of that.

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a meteorologist on the San Francisco Bay Area Public Radio station, which I’ll paste below:

Q: There’s a recent forecast that

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