The Official US Winter Weather Forecast Just Dropped & It's Going To Split The Country

🥶 or 🥵?

Senior Global Editor
A woman brushing snow off her car. Right: A woman on the beach in Miami.

A woman brushing snow off her car. Right: A woman on the beach in Miami.

Officials just dropped their predictions for the U.S. winter forecast, and it’s shaping up to be another 2022-2023 season dominated by La Niña and two dramatic types of weather.

But what does that mean?

Americans in the South can expect a warmer, drier winter season that’s likely to bring on more drought, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Thursday.

Meanwhile, conditions will be wetter than average in regions to the North, including the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest, NOAA says. Those northern areas will also face below-normal temperatures this winter. However, the Northeast is shaping up to be both wet and mild.

In other words, conditions will generally be good for plenty of cold and snow in the North, while much of the South is in for warm, dry weather that’ll make drought an issue.

“Drought conditions are now present across approximately 59% of the country, but parts of the Western U.S and southern Great Plains will continue to be the hardest hit this winter,” NOAA official Jon Gottschalck, head of its operational prediction branch, said in a news release.

Gottschalck added that La Niña has a lot to do with this year's weather patterns.

According to NOAA, La Niña is the cold version of the El Niño. Basically, it happens when winds push warm Pacific Ocean toward Asia and force cold water to come up on the West Coast of North America. That cooler water chills out and shifts the polar jet stream northward.

"This tends to lead to drought in the southern U.S. and heavy rains and flooding in the Pacific Northwest and Canada," NOAA says on its website. "During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the South and cooler than normal in the North."

The shift can also lead to more severe hurricanes, NOAA says.

This will be the third straight winter when La Niña has been a thing, so it might look a lot like the last few winters as a result.

NOAA's winter weather prediction is similar to but not quite the same as the one delivered by the Old Farmer's Almanac earlier this year. Almanac experts predicted a “tale of two winters,” with the western half of the U.S. getting a “wet and mild” season and the other half facing a “shivery and snowy” fate in 2022-23.

NOAA seems to be drawing a line between the North and South with its predictions.

We'll find out who had the better prediction in a few months!

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

Josh Elliott
Senior Global Editor
Josh Elliott is a Senior Editor for Narcity’s Global Desk focused on celebrity interviews and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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