Forecasters: Drought more likely than blizzards this winter

Spectrum News

Don’t expect much of a winter wallop this year, except for the pain of worsening drought, U.S. government forecasters said Thursday.

Two-thirds of the United States should get a warmer than normal winter, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted. Only Washington, northern Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas and northwestern Minnesota, will get a colder than normal winter, forecasters said.

The forecast for winter rain and snow splits the nation in three stripes. NOAA sees the entire south from southern California to North Carolina getting a dry winter. Forecasters see wetter weather for the northernmost states: Oregon and Washington to Michigan and dipping down to Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and other parts of the Ohio Valley. The rest of the nation will likely be closer to normal, NOAA said.

For the already dry Southwest and areas across the South, this could be a “big punch,” said NOAA drought expert David Miskus. About 45% of the nation is in drought, the highest level in more than seven years.

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