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NOAA: Fla. Can Expect Very Dry Winter

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NOAA 2011-2012 Winter Outlook Precip

(Source: NOAA.gov)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – NOAA announced Thursday that the state of Florida should get ready for a much drier than average winter this year.

The culprit driving the forecasted much drier winter will be La Niña, which will be active for the second winter in a row.

La Niña is associated with cooler than normal water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean which influences weather patterns throughout the world.

But, there will be a wild card that could throw the forecasts into chaos, the Arctic Oscillation. The Arctic Oscillation could produce dramatic short-term swings in temperatures this winter.

“The evolving La Niña will shape this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The erratic Arctic Oscillation can generate strong shifts in the climate patterns that could overwhelm or amplify La Niña’s typical impacts.”

Arctic Oscillations are tough to predict and can last a few weeks. Arctic Oscillation forecasts are usually only available one to two weeks in advance of the event, due to the unpredictability of the phenomenon.

For Florida, all of this means that the state should be prepared for a much drier than average winter, but the temperatures have an equal chance of being above or below average.

Unfortunately, the state should see above normal wildfire conditions as well in the coming winter.

NOAA Winter Temp Outlook

(Source: NOAA)

The forecast from NOAA also indicated that the Southern Plains, including Texas, Oklahoma, and parts of Arizona should be prepared for a warmer and drier winter than normal which could exacerbate the ongoing droughts in the region.

If you’re looking for areas where you might have the best chance of seeing some winter weather this year, you will have to go north and west.

The Pacific Northwest is expected to be much wetter than average this winter; and areas around the Great Lakes, dipping as far south as Kentucky, can also expect to see more precipitation this winter.

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