NOAA releases winter outlook

Warmer, Wetter Than Average Possible
Posted at 8:36 AM, Oct 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-22 08:41:50-04

WEST MICHIGAN - Each season the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (or NOAA) releases their long range outlook. This time, it has just been released for the winter months of December, January, and February. These long range forecasters and climatologists are highlighting a La Nina pattern that will dominate our weather here in the Great Lakes through those months.

In short, they say Michigan has about a 40 percent chance of warmer-than-normal temperatures in the deep winter months. Keep in mind, it doesn't mean that everyday and each week will be above normal, but on average (overall), there is scientific evidence and patterns setting up that leads NOAA to believe those months for Michigan may be slightly above normal. The best chance of above normal temperatures will reside over the Gulf Coast, Southeast, and Florida. See their map below.

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In their precipitation outlook for December, January, and February, NOAA is projecting wetter-than-average moisture for Michigan. In fact, there is a bulls-eye of about 50 percent of above normal temperatures for those months. Drier than normal conditions are likely in the Southeast, Florida, and the Southwest. You can see the outlook and map below.

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We mentioned La Nina. If you didn't know, similar to the popular term El Nino, these are both upper level air patterns that tend to drive weather over the long term. While El Nino is warmer-than-normal ocean water along the equatorial regions in the Pacific, La Nina is colder-than-normal ocean water in the same region. These water temperatures can/do change or drive patterns that force upper level trough (dips) and upper level ridges (bubbles) in our jetstream. Weather systems typically follow these upper level jetstream winds when tracking across the country. As you can see from the NOAA image below, a typical La Nina forces a pattern that favors slightly warmer temperatures and above normal precipitation for Michigan.


If you'd like to read the complete meteorological analysis and NOAA discussion, you can click here.We expect to experience fall-like temperatures this weekend with more rain arriving Sunday into Monday. You can get the complete West Michigan forecast at