The latest U.S. winter outlook spells trouble for dry California, Nevada and Washington, but all signs are for a warmer, wetter-than-average winter across much of the Pacific Northwest.
In a weekly update late Friday, NOAA said the U.S. winter is looking dry, with a “moderate chance of winter snow/ice” and an elevated risk “of above-average rain/sleet, with a higher risk than the past few years.”
Winter storm watches and warnings have already been issued for parts of California, but the storm system has dissipated.
NOAA’s forecast for the U.S. winter season is for a gradual decline in rainfall across the Rockies, central and southern Rockies, with rainfall levels increasing from there:
— “Snow is expected to be abundant and persistent, covering much of the northern Rockies and western central Sierra Foothills, through western Colorado and western Kansas into the Plains and through western Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas.”
— “Rain/sleet is also expected to bring widespread rain and melting snow, along with significant high winds, especially over the western plains and southern plains, western Oklahoma and western Arkansas, with perhaps a high risk for damage or loss of life. Some flooding and mudslides are also expected. Some additional rain will increase above-normal evaporation in the southeastern Plains as well as the southern Gulf of Mexico. Flooding is a concern over Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.”
— “In eastern Colorado the precipitation outlook is primarily for snow, with an elevated risk of snow (elevated) to very heavy snow (over 6 inch) in the mountains, where there is a moderate chance of winter weather.”
— “Rain will occur in parts of northern Colorado, central Colorado, western Kansas, eastern New Mexico and northern Texas, especially along the western edge of much of the Rocky Mountains. Heavy rain will occur over parts of southern Colorado, with high winds and flooding possible.
— “In eastern Texas, much of the southern Plains, including the Louisiana coastline, will remain hot and dry in the near future. This will promote high wind and the high chance for winter weather, especially along the western edge of much of the western Rocky Mountains.”