Sub-freezing temperatures have already made a few appearances in eastern Nebraska this fall, causing some to wonder if our winter will be colder than usual.
But forecasters with the National Weather Service (NWS) and with DTN are calling for above-normal temperatures this winter in our region.
DTN provides weather forecasts to OPPD and other energy companies.
Their projections are based on a strong El Nino climate pattern. For our region, El Nino climate patterns typically mean warmer than normal winter conditions, said Paul Fajman, a meteorologist at the Omaha/Valley NWS office.
During El Nino weather patterns, warmer water in the Pacific Ocean causes the Pacific jet stream to move south, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That means the southeastern U.S. is likely to be wetter than usual, with increased chances of flooding.
Meanwhile, the northern portion of the U.S. will see warmer weather than usual, with drier conditions across the Ohio Valley. Overall, drought conditions are likely to continue or expand across the U.S.
The past few winters have brought La Nina conditions to the U.S.
Last year, the first half of winter wreaked havoc in other parts of the country. A major storm system in late December caused 18,200 flight cancelations, $5.4 billion in estimated damage and more than 7 million power outages, mostly on the East Coast and in the Southeast. And in California, record rainfall and an “atmospheric river” pattern battered parts of the state, causing more than 20 deaths and billions in damage.
This winter in eastern Nebraska, temperatures are forecast to be slightly higher than usual early on, said Van DeWald, a lead meteorologist at the NWS Omaha/Valley office, during a recent winter weather briefing.
Precipitation levels could be slightly up in our area, but there is no strong signal either way, Fajman said.
Eastern Nebraska remains in a drought, and Van DeWald said that is likely to continue during the winter.
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