The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has released their forecast for the upcoming 2015-2016 winter season, of which is expected to be strongly influenced by the current El Niño pattern in the Pacific.

NOAA is predicting that above-average temperatures will persist across the northern US and down the west coast, while temperatures across the southeast are expected to be below average.

Key to this is the strong El Niño that developed in the Pacific this summer, which is expected to bring wetter weather across the south and the east coast, including drought-stricken California. While this winter is not expected to outright remove the ongoing drought conditions, it is expected to improve the situation. The northwest and Great Lakes areas are, conversely, forecast to see drier than average temperatures.

The deputy director for NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert, explains: “A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter. While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”

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