Days are becoming shorter and temperatures are dropping, which signals the arrival of winter. While some are eager for snowfall and chilly days to return, others may be nervous about what the coldest time of the year will bring. That’s why it’s important to know the annual winter forecast. 

Last winter was one that won’t be forgotten easily, particularly by those who live in the central U.S. Across Texas, millions were left in the dark after a snowstorm brought in extremely cold air. A few days later, the figure for snow on the ground across the country stood at 73.2%, the highest percentage since 2003, when the metric started being recorded. In addition, Denver had its snowiest winter in 37 years. 

La Niña makes an entrance

This winter season is expected to be busy from coast to coast. La Niña was a strong factor that was responsible for shaping the weather patterns across the U.S. throughout last winter. It is an event that takes place when the water near the Pacific Ocean’s equator is cooler than average. The jet stream is impacted by this phenomenon, and it also influences the track taken by storms that move across North America. La Niña is the counterpart of the popularly known El Niño. 

La Niña is predicted to influence part of the overall patterns once again this winter. That said, it will be weaker than last year. This means, there will be room for other weather elements to show up in the winter forecast, especially when the season heads into the second half. 

The Polar vortex could also be weaker than last winter season. With a weaker polar vortex, colder air from the Arctic could possibly slide southward into America before meteorological winter officially commences on December 1. Astronomical winter, on the other hand, will start on Tuesday, December 21. Waves of storms are expected in the Pacific Northwest, which may help douse the wildfires and alleviate drought. 

States experiencing drier and wetter than normal conditions

From northern Arkansas and Tennessee, north into the Great Lakes and northeast into New York and Vermont, and in western Alaska and the Pacific Northwest east into Montana and Wyoming, wetter than normal conditions are favored. The highest shift in precipitation is from Washington east into western Montana, from southeast Missouri northeast into Michigan, and in western Alaska.

Drier conditions are favored across the southern U.S., and southeast Alaska. The highest shifts in drier conditions are from southern California into southwest Texas, Florida, southeast Georgia, and southeast Alaska.