(NEXSTAR) – The Climate Prediction Center’s official winter forecast has been released, and it splits the country in two: hot and dry in the south and mystery in the north.
The 90-day forecast was released Thursday morning by the Climate Prediction Center, part of the National Weather Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It gives people a rough idea of what November, December and January will look like across the country.
The forecast is greatly influenced by the presence of La Niña, which forecasters recently said 75% were likely to remain through the winter months.
La Niña it tends to split the country in half, bringing a dry winter to the southern half and a wetter winter to the northern half.
You can see that pattern in the forecast map released Thursday (below): A coast-to-coast stretch of dry conditions is expected to affect the entire southern half of the US
While La Niña looks set to bring bad news to the already drought-stricken Southwest this winter, it’s a different story in the Pacific Northwest. La Niña winters tend to bring more precipitation, not less, to the region.
The rest of the country is a bit of a mystery. Each state shown in white on the map above has an equal chance of above-average precipitation and below-average precipitation.
When it comes to temperature, this year looks set to be a warm winter for many states, according to new NOAA forecasts. The West, South and Northeast have a good chance of above-average warmth between November and January.
The warmest conditions are expected in the southwest (Arizona, New Mexico and Texas).
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If forecasters’ predictions come true and La Niña persists through January, it will be the third La Niña winter in a row — a rare phenomenon we’ve seen only twice since 1950. However, new research suggests Recurring La Niña years are becoming more frequent due to climate change.