Scary or Merry? Here’s the 2020 Winter Weather Outlook

Winter is nearing, and according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for much of the U.S. Some already have been getting a little taste of what’s to come.


Although below-average temperatures are not favored overall, some areas could still experience a colder-than-average winter. In addition, forecasters say wetter-than-average weather is most likely across the northern part of the country from December through February.

Temperature Takeaways

  • The greatest likelihood for warmer-than-normal conditions are in Alaska and Hawaii, with more modest probabilities for above-average temperatures spanning large parts of the remaining lower 48 from the West across the South and up the eastern seaboard.
  • The Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, and the western Great Lakes have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.

Precipitation Notes

  • Wetter-than-average conditions are most likely in Alaska and Hawaii this winter, along with portions of the Northern Plains, Upper Mississippi Valley, the Great Lakes and parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
  • Drier-than-average conditions are most likely for Louisiana, parts of Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma as well as areas of northern and Central California.

    *See how NOAA’s forecast compares to what the Farmers Almanac publications are predicting.

Neutral climate phase conditions are in place currently and expected to persist into the spring. In the absence of El Niño or La Niña, long-term trends become a key predictor for the outlook, NOAA notes.