(NEXSTAR) – It may be the first day of winter, but weather outlooks released by national forecasters on Thursday look far from wintry.
The Climate Prediction Center’s updated outlook shows about half of states expecting hotter-than-average weather between January and March. It’s a continuation of what we’ve been seeing the past couple months as El Niño has grown stronger and stronger.
A broad band of the U.S., from California to Maine, is predicted to see temperatures warmer than a typical winter. The Pacific Northwest, Maine and Alaska are the areas with the highest odds of a hot winter.
Nevada isn’t spared from the warm trend. Practically all of the state is leaning toward above-average temperatures the next three months, with chances highest up north.
The precipitation outlook for the start of 2024 also looks pretty consistent with a typical El Niño year.
In Nevada, El Niño’s biggest impacts tend to be in the southern part of the state, says the University of Nevada, Reno. Southern Nevada tends to see more storms and precipitation in an El Niño year.
This winter, it’s the Gulf and Southeastern states with the highest probability of above-average rain. But even Nevada has between a 33% and 50% chance of more precipitation than normal.
Even if sunny skies and warm temperatures in January aren’t “typical” for many states, they may be typical of an El Niño. When comparing the outlooks (above) to the graphic created by NOAA (below) that show El Niño’s impact, the similarities are more apparent.
A wintertime El Niño pattern tends to bring warm and dry weather up north, and wet weather down south. Where the dividing line falls varies year to year.
Its full strength remains to be seen, but the 2023-2024 El Niño is growing more likely to be one for the record books. In a recent update, the Climate Prediction Center said this winter’s El Niño was slightly favored to be “historically strong.” The organization gave it a 54% chance of being one of the five strongest since 1950.
How long this El Niño will last is also uncertain. NOAA forecasters said earlier this month they expect it to wind down sometime between April and June of next year.