Notebook: NOAA Says La Niña Means A Better Winter
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Notebook: NOAA Says La Niña Means A Better Winter

U.S. winter outlook calls for above-average temps and wetter than average conditions for much of the snow industry.

October 26, 2021

NOAA's Climate Prediction has issued its US winter weather outlook for December 2021 through February 2022, and they're pointing to La Niña's presence for a potential snowy colder winter.

But prior to NOAA's recent seasonal outlook, we kinda of had an idea about La Niña's influence on Winter 2020-21 weather potential. Back in late July, our weather buddies at Thermodynamic Solutions authored an article predicting that with a a fair probability for La Niña conditions returning for Winter 2021-22, the snow and ice industry could experience a cold and snowy season. CLICK HERE to check out that article.

TDS plans to issue its winter outlook in early November. So, stay tuned for their report and probably a guest appearance on The Snow Magazine Podcast.

Back to NOAA. Above-average temperatures are favored across the South and most of the eastern U.S. as La Nina climate conditions have emerged for the second winter in a row according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service. In NOAA’s 2021 Winter Outlook — which extends from December 2021 through February 2022 — wetter-than-average conditions are anticipated across portions of the Northern U.S., primarily in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and western Alaska.

“Consistent with typical La Nina conditions during winter months, we anticipate below-normal temperatures along portions of the northern tier of the U.S. while much of the South experiences above-normal temperatures,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief, Operational Prediction Branch, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas.”



  • Warmer-than-average conditions are most likely across the Southern tier of the U.S. and much of the Eastern U.S. with the greatest likelihood of above-average temperatures in the Southeast.
  • Below-average temperatures are favored for southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest eastward to the northern Plains.
  • The Upper Mississippi Valley and small areas of the Great Lakes have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.




  • The Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes and parts of the Ohio Valley and western Alaska have the greatest chances for wetter-than-average conditions.
  • Drier-than-average conditions are favored in south-central Alaska, southern California, the Southwest, and the Southeast.
  • The forecast for the remainder of the U.S. shows equal chances for below-, near- or above-average precipitation during winter months.


  • Widespread severe to exceptional drought continues to dominate the western half of the continental U.S., Northern Plains, and the Missouri River Basin.
  • Drought conditions are forecast to persist and develop in the Southwest and Southern Plains.
  • The Pacific Northwest, northern California, the upper Midwest, and Hawaii are most likely to experience drought improvement.

NOAA’s seasonal outlooks provide the likelihood that temperatures and total precipitation amounts will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are anticipated to change in the months ahead. The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will update its three-month outlook on November 19.