This Winter Will Be Warmer Than Average in the United States, Experts Say

Thanks to an incoming El Niño pattern, meteorologists at the NOAA believe temperatures across the United States will be higher than usual.

This Winter Will Be Warmer Than Average in the United States, Experts Say

Predicting weather six months out is difficult, but so far, it looks like winter will be warm this season.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

It might still be 80 degrees outside, but the long-range winter forecasts for 2019 are already here. Meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are predicting a warm and wet winter across most of the United States thanks to the likelihood of an El Niño pattern developing later on this year, bringing higher than average temperatures and precipitation with it.

There is an approximately 60% chance of #ElNino in the Northern Hemisphere during Fall 2018 (September-November), increasing to around 70% during Winter 2018-19. — NWSCPC (@NWSCPC) August 9, 2018

Back in July, the NOAA released its initial forecast for December 2018-February 2019, which predicted everywhere from California to the Midwest to the Northeast had at least a 33 percent chance or higher of above-average temperatures. While the NOAA chart below says the entirety of the South should expect normal winter temperatures, it should also prepare for above-average levels of precipitation as well. According to NOAA’s initial predictions, the only area of the United States that is predicted to have below-average precipitation this winter is the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, Montana, and parts of Wyoming and North Dakota.

With the days getting shorter, it’s not too early to think about the upcoming winter. The latest forecast for December-February 2018/19 leverages likely #ElNino. — NWSCPC (@NWSCPC) July 19, 2018

Long-range weather forecasts are always subject to change, but at the moment, it looks like Colorado is the only major ski destination that is expecting more snow than usual this season per the NOAA’s chart. (Sorry, skiers.)

If you want to remain optimistic about the 2019 ski season, The Old Farmer’s Almanac might be able to provide you with a little bit of hope (if you choose to believe its forecast). We got a sneak peek of its 2019 edition, which has slightly different predictions for this winter when it comes to precipitation levels. While it also says that temperatures are predicted to be higher than average this winter in the Northeast and Midwest, it also predicts a snowy season in Utah, Idaho, and western Montana and Wyoming instead of a dry one.

The 2019 Old Farmer's Almanac predicts a warm, wet winter for most of the country.

The 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a warm, wet winter for most of the country.

Courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac

The Old Farmer’s Almanac editors claim that their weather predictions are 80 percent accurate and are derived from a “formula that was devised by the founder of this Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792.” While the formula remains a secret to today, Thomas believed that weather was affected by sunspots, the magnetic storms on the sun’s surface.

Even though The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s formula has been enhanced with modern scientific calculations and technology today, it’s always good to take its forecasts with a grain of salt since most meteorologists remain skeptical about the way it provides blanket statements about the weather without all the specific percentages that the NOAA does.

So whether you choose to believe the NOAA or The Old Farmer’s Almanac, at least everyone agrees that this winter won’t be as frigid as usual.

>> Next: Where to Find Warm Weather and Escape the Crowds This Winter

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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