Winter weather outlook

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has issued its Winter Outlook. For Kansas, winter precipitation is equally likely to be in any of the three categories -- above, below or average. Total precipitation for the three-month period of Dec-Feb ranges from less than an inch-and-a-half along the Kansas-Colorado border to more than 5 inches in southeast Kansas.


The temperature outlook is also neutral, with conditions equally likely to be above- or below-average in the Central Plains. The three month (Dec-Feb) normal mean temperatures range from  about 26 degrees F along the northern tier of counties to more than 39 degrees along the southeastern parts of the state. Nationally, the biggest departures from average are expected on the coasts, with the western U.S. having a greater chance of warmer-than-average temperatures. Along the Gulf Coast, conditions are expected to be cooler than average.



 Chances for an El Niño continue to be reduced, and at this time if one develops it is expected to only be weak to moderate. El Niño conditions favor milder and wetter-than-normal conditions in Kansas during the winter but it is not the only global circulation pattern than can produce those conditions. A persistent ridge to the west, similar to last year, could also favor a wetter-than-normal winter period. It is also important to note that these are based on averages, and individual storm tracks will greatly influence the month-to-month, or day-to-day conditions.


Mary Knapp, Weather Data Library