The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted Thursday a mild winter with warmer, wetter weather likely for much of the country from December through February due to a developing El Niño.
California is likely to see hotter-than-average winter temperatures, while parts of Southern California could also get greater precipitation, according to NOAA.
Drought conditions may worsen in much of Southern and Central California, although the north coast of California may see some relief, according to NOAA.
Eric Kurth, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Sacramento office, said that although the north coast can expect average precipitation this winter, it will be an increase from the drier-than-average conditions of last year, which may help clear up some short-term drought conditions in those regions.
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The northwestern United States, including parts of Northern California near the Oregon border, is likely to see the highest chances of warmer temperatures. No place in the U.S. is expected to experience cooler-than-average temperatures, according to NOAA.
A weak El Niño, described by NOAA as a warming of parts of the Pacific Ocean, is likely to occur this winter, which may contribute to increased precipitation in the southern United States and parts of the East Coast, according to NOAA.
“We expect El Niño to be in place in late fall to early winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.