Friday, October 21, 2016

NOAA Winter Outlook

The latest source to publish a winter outlook is arguably the most reliable. That would be the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA for short. The outlook features many similarities as the other outlooks that have been published thus far. Namely, a colder and snowier winter is expected across the northern Rockies, northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and Great Lakes. Meanwhile, the southeastern United States and southwestern United States can expect a warmer and drier than average winter overall. The Pacific Northwest will likely see a wetter-than-average winter. The outlook shown is valid for the months of December, January and February, not November and March.

While NOAA's outlook doesn't feature brutal cold or hefty snowfall totals across the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin region, it does point towards the Rockford area seeing above average snowfall and roughly average temperatures. However, because our temperatures aren't expected to be well-above or well-below average, that does not mean we won't experience periods of frigid air, or days where temperatures soar above average. Temperature fluctuations can and do occur at all times of the year, including winter. That holds true even when a winter is expected to be brutally cold. There will still be a few days with warmer-than-average temperatures.

Is it a guarantee that any particular winter outlook will validate perfectly? Certainly not. However, there has been at least minimal agreement among the winter outlooks overall. That suggests that Rockford does have a higher probability of seeing a snowier and slightly colder than average winter as opposed to a warmer-than-average and drier than normal winter.

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