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NOAA releases winter outlook

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Posted at 6:11 PM, Oct 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-19 18:13:57-04

RICHMOND, Va. — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released its winter forecast, covering the period of December through February.

A lot of this forecast is influenced by the effects of La Nina.  While La Nina causes an active hurricane season, it tends to bring milder and drier conditions to the Mid Atlantic states in winter.

In terms of temperatures, a good portion of the United States may end up warmer than normal during the winter period.  This does not mean that there will be no cold weather or arctic blasts, just that the warmer or milder periods will win out when everything is averaged.

Precipitation forecasting is a little more complex.  La Nina brings drier than normal conditions through the southern United States up into the Mid Atlantic, but the edge of these effects may end up splitting the Commonwealth.

Our typical winter produces about 9″ of liquid precipitation, which includes rain and melted-down sleet and snow.   Normal snowfall for Richmond is around 10″.  Last year’s winter only produced 7.1″.

Precipitation is more of a wildcard, since one decent coastal storm can produce heavy totals, and these generalized winter outlooks can’t pick up on individualized storms.

However, if La Nina ends up holding through the winter, we should average out warmer and drier than normal.

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