NOAA: Winter may be warmer than average

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Tampa meteorologist Jennifer Hubbard said the Tampa Bay area can except mostly the same, with mild winter temperatures near or slightly above average, as well as more rain than usual.

An overall mild winter is expected when it comes to temperatures, with most of the USA expected to see warmer than normal temperatures, some much warmer than normal, according to the NOAA outlook from its Climate Prediction Center.

In the winter, the NOAA said, typical El Nino conditions include wetter-than-average precipitation in the southern US and drier conditions in parts of the northern U.S.

A weak El Niño, described by NOAA as a warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean, is likely to occur this winter, which may contribute to increased precipitation in the southern United States and parts of the East Coast, according to NOAA.

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Because of the uncertainty in seasonal prediction, NOAA's winter outlook is probabilistic in nature, meaning that a range of outcomes is possible in any area. States from the Pacific Northwest through the Northern Plains and into the Northeast are likely to have above-average temperatures, the NOAA reported. But there isn't anywhere in the country who are definitely due for a colder-than-normal winter.

"NOAA" s Winter 2018 temperature outlook for the United States.

But North and SC, along with much of the southeast and Mid-Atlantic, the Tennessee Valley and Ohio Valley, "all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures", NOAA said.

Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the USA, and up into the Mid-Atlantic. The chances are highest in southeastern Georgia and much of northern and Central Florida. "There's a 70-to-75 percent chance El Nino will develop in the next few months".

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Drought conditions are likely to persist across portions of the Southwest, Southern California, the central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains and portions of the interior Pacific Northwest.

The Carolinas can expect a wetter than average winter this year, according to latest seasonal forecasts. Snow forecasts are generally not easily predicated more than a week in advance.

If the snowfall earlier this week reminded you how much you don't like the winter cold, you may be in luck.

Even so, it's no time to ditch the shovels and heavy winter jackets, with NOAA warning that its forecast does not mean the winter of 2018-2019 will not feature major snowstorms.

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