PBS News Hour October 18, 2012
On Thursday, after nine months of record-breaking high temperatures and a scorching drought, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced their prediction that the winter of 2012/2013 is likely to follow the same trend. This year could be the warmest in the 118-year record in the continental United States, said Deke Arndt, chief of climate monitoring at NOAA's National Climatic Data Center.
These conditions are what scientists expect after an unusually dry, warm year, beginning with an "anemic" snow pack from the 2011/2012 winter, Arndt said. But a sudden change in the warm El Niño pattern made predicting winter weather a challenge this year, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
In the map above, the NOAA Climate Prediction Center estimates that the majority of the United States west of the Mississippi River, parts of Southern Canada and the northernmost shore of Alaska will likely experience temperatures above their expected average.
Scientists also predicted that the Northwest United States -- Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Northern California and Nevada -- and the Upper Midwest will experience a drier than average winter with less rain and snow than expected.