Wet winter on tap for northeast, NOAA predicts

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Residents across the Tri-State area should prepare for a wet winter, government forecasters said Thursday.

The National Weather Service announced its winter weather outlook for December through February, predicting that two-thirds of the U.S. will have a warmer winter than normal.

Jon Gottschalck, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said it will be less likely than normal for the Northeast and Texas to experience paralyzing blizzards that shut down cities last winter.

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The South will more likely be drier than usual this season, and the north will be wetter.

The other third of the country, including the Pacific Northwest and southern Alaska, will likely get colder than usual.

The Midwest, Northwestern states and Hawaii should expect above normal precipitation, while the South will have less.

As the U.S. enters a second La Nina year in a row, these weather conditions across the country are typical, said Jon Gottschalck, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

La Nina, the flip side of El Nino, is the periodic cooling of parts of the Pacific, affecting weather patterns worldwide.

A dry winter down south means worsening drought across Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Southern California and other Western states.

However, the Pacific Northwest "really stands out" for having the best chance to improve drought conditions, the NOAA's Brad Pugh said.

Hurricane season

During last year's La Nina, the Atlantic set a record with 30 named storms. This year, the season has been busier than normal with 20 named storms and only one name left unused on the primary storm name list: Wanda.

The last couple weeks have been quiet, but Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, says that could change.

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"I expect it to pick up again," Halpert said. "Just because it's quiet now, it doesn't mean we won't still see more storms as we get later into October and even into November."

La Ninas tend to make Atlantic seasons more active because one key ingredient in formation of storms is winds near the top of them.

An El Nino triggers more crosswinds that decapitate storms, while a La Nina has fewer crosswinds, allowing storms to develop and grow.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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