NOAA’s Winter Forecast

With winter approaching, NOAA issued its final U.S. winter outlook for December 2004 through February 2005. Forecasters at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center predict an enhanced likelihood of cooler-than-average temperatures in much of the East, Middle Atlantic and South; warmer-than-average temperatures in Alaska, Hawaii and the West; wetter-than-average conditions from New Mexico through Texas to Louisiana; and drier-than-average conditions over the Ohio Valley and the Northwest for this winter.

Much of the focus of what lies behind the forecast is the continuation of a weak El Niño event in the tropical Pacific, which NOAA scientists are closely monitoring. "This event is expected to continue into early 2005, but remain much weaker than the 1997-1998 El Niño.

"El Niño wintertime impacts vary over the United States depending on the strength of the event," said Higgins. Warmer-than-average conditions are expected in the West, while cooler and wetter-than-average conditions are expected for portions of the South and Southeast. "This is consistent with a typical El Niño pattern and has been factored into NOAA’s Winter Outlook," he added.

This spells SNOW for the High Country, so don’t be fooled by all of the mild temps right now. Winter will be GREAT…

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Mike Doble
Mike is the Editor and founder of, and Since September 1996 he has posted more than 13,000 posts, articles, photos and videos promoting all of the ski areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.Mike is the father of four daughters, is an avid skier and enjoys golf, tennis, kayaking and hiking in the mountains. Winter snowsports and Summer boating on Watauga Lake are among his favorite pastimes.