Mike Halpert, NOAA Climate Prediction Center:
CPC has updated its winter outlooks of the forecast for the months of December, January and February. And the winter outlook for this winter favors above average temperatures across much of the South, from New Mexico across the Southeast to the Atlantic coast… and also favors below average temperatures across much of the Northern plain, the Northern Rockies, the Pacific Northwest, and a good part of the West as well as the southern half of Alaska.
With regards to precipitation, we see those areas most likely to experience below-average precipitation across the South– in particular Florida and Texas– with a better than even chance of being wetter than average across much of the North– particularly from the Ohio valley and the Northern Rockies and the Pacific Northwest.
On a particular climate forecast map, what we show in terms of colors is the most likely forecast, or the most likely category, in a three-class system. At every location, though, there are three possible outcomes. If we look just at the precipitation forecast, precipitation can either be below average, near average, or above average.
For additional information on the winter outlook for 2011-2012, see the featured image Winter Outlook for 2011-2012.