Warmer than normal weather predicted for Winter 2005/2006

Map showing higher than normal temps in Western US

The brown shaded areas of the map show areas

higher than normal temperatures for

Nov/Dec 2005/Jan 2006

October  21, 2005

Copyright 2005 BigValleyNews.net

The predicted temperatures for most of the Western United States, (including Big Valley) are for higher than normal temperatures throughout the winter.

The National Weather Service has a Climate Prediction Center which produces long term weather outlooks for the United States and has made available a number of maps showing the outlook for winter weather, one of which is shown above.  More maps are available from their web site (CLICK HERE to see a list of maps).  A set of maps under the heading "More Outlooks: is on this page.  The titles include letters such as "DJF" which means December, January, February and so on.

"Even though the average temperature over the three-month winter season is forecast to be above normal in much of the country, there still will be bouts of winter weather with cold temperatures and frozen precipitation," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

According to the

Climate prediction center, main factors which affect seasonal forecasts include El Nino and La Nina ocean temperatures, North Atlantic ocean temperatures and wet soils or snow cover throughout the year.  The effects of El Nino this year are neutral and the map above which suggests above normal temperatures does not show much above.  There are slightly elevated sea surface temperatures in the Western Pacific.  There are no indications of weather being extremely warm or extremely cold. What we can say is the winter will probably not be very cold.

El Nino is the name given to a 3 to 7 year cycle of warm water which occurs in the eastern Pacific Ocean and has been observed to strongly influence the climate.

The outlook of at least a not very cold winter is good news with rapidly increasing heating fuel prices.  The bad news is that we can certainly look forward to colder winters in the next few years and fuel prices will not go down.  We should use this time to evaluate our home heating systems and plan for the future.