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NOAA releases 2020 Winter Weather Outlook: what this could mean for the Appalachians

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released their national winter weather forecast as of October 15th, 2020. The projections released are tied to the on-going La Niña episode in the Equatorial Pacific.

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During a typical La Niña year like this one, the sea surface temperatures there are unusually cool, and drop to below-average. This colder air pushes the Polar Jet Stream Northward.

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Because of La Nina's influence, colder temperatures look hold tight in the Pacific Northwest and Northern Plains, while the southern tier of the United States will experience above normal-temps. Our area looks to see slightly above normal average temperatures from December until February of next year, according to NOAA'S forecast.

Unfortunately drought conditions could actually worsen across the western US, while improvements look possible in the Pacific Northwest. As of now, the precipitation looks to stay around average in the Appalachians, keeping our area drought-free.

Here is a look at the normal seasonal highs and lows, along with the normal annual snowfall totals for Bluefield and Beckley. Most of the snow obviously falls during Meteorological Winter (Dec-Feb), but we all know we've seen those flakes in October, November, March, and April at times!

Of course, we'll keep you updated as the Winter season approaches, but for now, let's enjoy the rest of our Fall :)

Katherine Thompson

Chief Meteorologist

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