NOAA Winter Outlook 2017

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Warmer-than-average conditions are also more likely across other areas of the East Coast, the southern two-thirds of the United States, Hawaii, and in parts of Alaska, NOAA says.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday forecast a warmer winter from California through the Midwest to Maine.

La Nina has a 55- to 65-percent chance of developing before winter sets in, NOAA forecasters indicate. Most of the northern US has at least about a 30% chance of a wetter than usual winter, while much of the southern USA has odds between about 30% and greater than 50% of a drier than usual winter.

A better-than-average chance of below-normal temperatures is forecast for Minnesota, particularly from January into February.

"If La Nina conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter", said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. When this weather pattern develops, the effects can be felt around the world.

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∙ Drier-than-normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S.

The climate signals in these areas are not strong enough to tilt the odds either way, NOAA said.

Other factors that influence winter weather include the Arctic Oscillation, which affects the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and is hard to predict more than one to two weeks in advance. The southern expected to be drier and warmer than usual this winter, NOAA said. The Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North American Oscillation (NAO), for example, can send a southward surge of arctic air that puts the a deep freeze for weeks at a time... but can only be forecast reliably a few weeks in advance.

The agency's winter outlook will be updated on November 16. Jones said northern areas of the state might just be immune from La Niña, spelling good news for ski areas and skiers themselves.