WASHINGTON – Government forecasters on Wednesday predicted a warmer than normal winter, offering hope to much of the Midwest and West as concern grows about the rising costs of heating during cold weather.
The National Weather Service said there is a 60 percent chance of warmer than normal weather in the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, north Texas, northern New Mexico and southern and eastern Colorado.
States adjoining that area, plus Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii also have a chance of being warmer than usual.
Other regions could be warmer or cooler than usual but no area was singled out to be especially cold.
“Even though the average temperature over the three-month winter season is forecast to be above normal in much of the country, there will still be bouts of winter weather with cold temperatures and frozen precipitation,” said NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr.
The forecasters noted that for the sixth year in a row, drought remains a concern for parts of the Northwest and northern Rockies. Wet or dry conditions during the winter typically have a significant impact on drought conditions.