NOAA: Warmer, drier than usual winter predicted for North Texas

Much of the U.S., including North Texas, should expect another warm winter, but not quite as toasty as the last two years, forecasters said.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday forecast a warmer winter from California through the Midwest to Maine. That includes North Texas, where forecasters believe temperatures will be 40 to 50 percent warmer than average winter temperatures.

A colder than normal winter is predicted for southern Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Tier states. Normal temperatures are forecast for a thin swath of states from Indiana to Idaho.

The big driver in the forecast is a La Nina weather event that is likely to develop next month. La Nina, the flip side of El Nino, is the periodic cooling of the central Pacific Ocean that affects weather patterns around the globe.

There was a La Nina for the early part of last winter. The 2015-2016 winter was record warm, about 4.55 degrees hotter than normal.

Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said it would be surprising if this winter is as warm.

Halpert said the southern U.S. is likely to be drier than normal, while the north from eastern Washington through the Great Lakes to update New York is likely to be wetter.

North Texas is predicted to be about one-third drier than a typical winter.

NOAA's winter outlook doesn't forecast snow or specific storms, but La Ninas tend to favor more storms coming from the west and north than from the Gulf of Mexico or the East Coast, he said.

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