Models don't agree on temperature, but say it's going to be wetter

The Hannibal area can expect weather 15 degrees colder than normal on Friday all the way through Halloween, but the unseasonably cool weather may not be a harbinger for things to come.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released its winter outlook, and according to forecasters, the Hannibal area could see a warmer winter than average. The results of the outlook, released on Oct. 19, also say that Northeast Missouri could see a colder winter than average. Northern Missouri falls into a band through the middle of the country where the winter weather is uncertain and difficult to predict.

Not exactly specific information.

More conventional wisdom suggests paying closer attention to The Old Farmer’s Almanac — a publication around since the late 1700s that helps agricultural producer better plan for weather and gardening, as well as providing information on astronomy.

The almanac predicts a milder winter than normal.

NOAA places Hannibal in a band that gives it no greater chance than normal for an above average or below average winter in terms of temperature.

Both NOAA and the almanac agree on one thing though: this winter will be a wetter one than normal.

That might come as a relief to children, who have had very little snow in which to play the past two winters. It might also cause consternation for commuters who could be forced to drive in snowier conditions compared to previous years.

The winter of 2016-2017 saw less than one inch of snow in Hannibal, and the previous winter tallied less than two inches.

The average amount of precipitation expected from December through February — the coldest months of the year — is just over six inches.

The almanac predicts precipitation will be at least two inches above average in January and above average again in February.

“Winter will be milder than normal, with above-normal precipitation and snowfall,” according to the almanac. “The coldest periods will be from late November into early December, from late December into early January, and in early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-November, early to mid- and late December, and early February.”

NOAA gives a greater than 33 percent chance that this winter will be wetter than usual. That pattern has to do with the development of La Nina, a weather pattern marked by cooler ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean.

“If La Nina conditions develop, we predict it will be weak and potentially short-lived, but it could still shape the character of the upcoming winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Typical La Nina patterns during winter include above average precipitation and colder than average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the U.S. and below normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South.”

According to NOAA, the probability of a warmer winter extends across the southern U.S., traveling as far north as the I-70 corridor in Missouri. It also extends through the Colorado Rockies and up the eastern seaboard to New England. The colder than average winters are expected in the northern plains and Pacific Northwest.

Reach editor Eric Dundon at eric.dundon@courierpost.com .