Don’t get out the sled just yet, and plan to keep the parkas in snowballs a while longer.
Both a federal climate agency and a nationwide commercial forecasting service predict “La Nina” will dominate the climate over much of the nation this winter, making the season warmer and drier than average from southern California to the Carolinas.
Joe Bastardi, chief long-range forecaster for Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather.com, characterized the December-through-February outlook as a “non-winter” for the southern tier of states.
“Though it sounds nice, this forecast does not come without consequences,” said AccuWeather senior meteorologist Heather Buchman.
Much of the South is already in drought condition, and a dry, warm winter could mean increased fire dangers during the season that traditionally brings most of the region’s wildfires.
“In fact, the overall dry weather pattern expected across the southern tier of the nation could lead the region into a ‘perilous period’ similar to the 1950s and 1960s, which was drier than normal,” Buchman said. “Drought conditions and water shortages could become major problems from southern California into the Deep South.”
At the same time La Nina;a is warming the South, northern states are expected to be colder than usual, with higher than average rainfall and snowfall – though probably not a repeat of the “Snowmageddon” blizzards that hit some parts of the nation.
La Nina;a is associated with warmer-than-normal water temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is the mirror image of “El Nino,” which brings cooler than average waters to the same ocean region.
“El Nino” got its moniker, a Spanish nickname often applied to the Christ child, because the phenomenon usually is most pronounced around Christmas.
Oct. 28 is the average first freeze date for Tupelo, but there is little chance of weather that cold in the near future. The National Weather Service office in Memphis had forecast a low of 43 for this morning in Tupelo, but lows through next Thursday are expected to stay in the 50s and 60s. Several days offer the possibility of precipitation, including 50 percent on Sunday night.
“Next week we’ll be getting into a pattern where we’ll have at least a decent chance of rain,” said National Weather Service forecaster Andy Sneizak. “It’s still going to be warm, but we might be starting our wetter pattern.”
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or email@example.com.
Tupelo’s first freezes
– Earliest: Oct. 3, 1974
– Latest: Dec. 2, 1946
– Average: Oct. 28
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal