ASHE COUNTY-Events unfolding half a world away could lead to a rougher winter than normal for the High Country.
That’s according to forecasters with the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, who predicted this week the strongest El Niño – a climate phenomenon associated with warm water around portions of the equator – on record could lead to cooler, wetter winter across parts of the southern United States.
“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
NOAA officials said this year’s unusually strong El Niño phenomenon is expected to influence weather and climate patterns this winter by impacting the position of the Pacific jet stream. That could lead to portions of the country experiencing weather that’s different from what they might expect in an average year.
This year NOAA forecasters say El Niño will lead to cooler and wetter weather in Southern Tier States – they’re forecasting the chance of precipitation in the southern Appalachians might be some 33-40 higher than in an average year – while temperatures are likely to be about normal.
Those predictions aside, Halpert cautioned that other factors will have a say in how much snow Ashe County sees this winter.
“Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter,” Halpert said in his forecast. “However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”
So it’s probable will see an uptick in precipitation this winter, according to Halpert, but not a certainty.
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