SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just published its outlook for this coming winter.  NOAA is reporting an El Nino in place heading into the winter months for the first time in four years. What does this mean for Utah? 

From December to February 2024 NOAA is predicting wetter than average conditions for the West and Southeastern U.S. and that means Utah likely could see a 30 – 40% chance above normal precipitation during the three months in question. 

Temperatures appear to be staying consistent with previous years except for the extreme northwestern part of the state which is predicted to catch the edge of a warming trend from Nevada and California that could see temperatures up to 40% higher than normal. The Northern part of the US is forecasted to see warmer temps than in the past with Washington and Oregon expected to see up to 60% warmer temperatures. 

While there are still parts of the US that are experiencing drought the majority of Utah is not among those states this winter. While extreme eastern Utah is still seeing some drought conditions the entire state’s conditions are a vast improvement over the extreme drought conditions the Beehive State experienced in 2021 and heading into winter last year. There are several northern regions and southwestern states that will continue to experience persistent drought but much of the Southern region is seeing slight improvement in drought conditions. 

NOAA outlooks are key indicators for more than just folks trying to plan travel or recreation they can provide industry and agricultural predictions. 

“These outlooks provide critical guidance on the upcoming season for many industries and sectors of our economy, from energy producers to commodities markets to agricultural interests to tourism,” said Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D., NOAA chief scientist. “With a strengthening El Nino and more potential climate extremes in an already record-breaking year, we’re lucky to have scientists like those at the Climate Prediction Center helping to build a Weather and Climate-Ready Nation by providing critical operational seasonal climate predictions.” 

While these predictions are typically on par with seasonal developments they are simply predictions and things can change, follow the ABC4 Weather Team online and during our broadcasts for the most up-to-date information here in Utah.