WINTER 2020-2021: What the forecasters say could be coming for Utah


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – NOAA released the long-awaited, highly-anticipated 2020-21 Winter Outlook for the United States on Thursday, October 15.

As we head towards winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA winter forecast favor drier, warmer conditions for the Southern half of the United States with cooler, wetter conditions for the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest.

Closer to home, Southern Utah is forecast to record a drier winter with below-normal precipitation chances. Simultaneously, the remainder of the state has equal chances to see wetter or drier conditions. The entire region is forecast to record above normal, warmer temperatures.

A La Nina weather climate will remain persistent for the remainder of the winter season. The type of weather pattern that is forecast this winter is very typical when La Nina is present

La Nina is an oceanic and atmospheric phenomenon that is the counterpart to El Nino. Trade winds in the Pacific Ocean blow warmer waters at the surface from South America West towards Indonesia. When this occurs, colder water from below the surface rises near the coast of South America.

The variable Pacific jet stream typically will stay farther North, and the Polar jet stream dips farther East. This tends to bring the cooler, wetter pattern to the Pacific Northwest and Upper Midwest.
In the last 3 La Nina years of 2016-17, 2010-11, and 2008-09, though most valley locations saw below-normal snowfall, many mountain ranges saw above-normal snowfall years, including one of the biggest seasons in the winter of 2010-11 for the Wasatch mountains.

Unfortunately, the winter drought outlook continues to show an expanding drought throughout the West though some improvement or end to the drought is forecast for the Pacific Northwest.

Stay Tuned.

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