Updated NOAA outlook for winter indicates chance for increased precipitation for northern Colorado

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) released updated outlooks for winter 2011 – 2012 indicating it could be a snowy one for the northern half of Colorado.

The original outlooks from the agency released previously offered a drier picture, primarily based on the influences of La Niña in the Pacific.  Given however that the current event is relatively mild, its effects are limited, particularly this far inland.

For the meteorological winter from December 2011 to February 2012, NOAA places virtually all of Colorado in an area that has equal chance of well above, well below, or near-normal temperatures.  However, the northern half of the state, including Denver, is given a 33% chance of experiencing above normal precipitation.

NOAA said:

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.

Last year, Denver experienced second least snowiest snow season on record as the city only recorded 22.8 inches (21.2 inches in Thornton).  This season the picture is much improved with 22.2 inches having been recorded so far – nearly as much as all of last season.

NOAA's updated Winter 2011 - 2012 outlook. Click the image for a larger view. (NOAA)
NOAA's updated Winter 2011 - 2012 outlook. Click the image for a larger view. (NOAA)

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