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NOAA releases Winter 2020-21 Outlook

The first winter outlook for December, January and February (meteorological winter) was released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Thursday morning. This outlook looks at the temperature and precipitation trend over the three month period.


Temperature outlook December through February

Much of the southern US has a greater probability of seeing warmer than normal temperatures. The northern and northwest portion of the US is expected to experience cooler than normal temperatures. Locations that aren't highlighted in the blue or orange color (eastern Iowa) have equal chances at above or below normal temperatures, meaning there's no real signal for either.


The areas that have a higher probability of experiencing warmer than normal temperatures, have a good chance at staying drier than normal. The northern tier of the country will be looking at a chance of a wetter than normal winter. This doesn't necessarily mean more snow, but more precipitation in general.

Iowa is in the equal chances of a drier or wetter than normal winter. The northeast part of the state has the possibility of wetter conditions.

This is all typical of a La Niña pattern, which is where the water temperatures of the Pacific Ocean near the Equator are cooler than normal. This type of patter generally leads to cooler, wetter conditions in the northern US, and drier, warmer conditions in the south.

Here's the last three seasonal snowfall totals. To give perspective, the winter of 2017/2018 was a La Niña year. Winter 2018/2019 was an El Niño year (warmer Pacific Ocean waters) with record snowfall.

Here's a look at the average seasonal snowfall for the big four cities.

As always, Stay with KWWL for updates throughout the winter season. We will keep you ahead of any cold and snow in the forecast.

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Kyle Kiel


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