A warmer December, what’s ahead?

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We are “officially” only a few weeks into winter. There is the Meteorological and the Astronomical start of winter. The Meteorological start of winter is December 1st. The Astronomical start of winter was December 21st. For us in Wisconsin, we may feel winter starts a lot earlier. This year especially, when we had cold and snow in October.
We finished out the last month of 2019 warmer than usual. Oddly enough, the second half of December was warmer than the first half. The first half of the month averaged a high of 29.5°. The second half of December averaged a high of 34.8°
A lot of what determines what kind of weather we see, has to do with sea surface temperatures. Weather in the United States typicaly moves west to east. Right now, we are in “ENSO-neutral conditions”across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. ENSO stands for El-Nino Southern Oscillation. This (ENSO) is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the Pacific Ocean. This warming and cooling pattern can have a strong influence on weather across the United States and other parts of the world
Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are near-to-above average across the Pacific Ocean. There is much more involved meteorological data which goes into the projection of average temperatures over the next month.
Here’s what we expect through most of January:

January temperatures

Getting straight to the point, the western continental United States has enhanced odds for below normal temperatures, while above normal temperatures are favored for most of the eastern continental United States. The mid-section of the US, to our west, is in the middle. a 50/50 chance of being above average or below. To break it down, we have a slightly better chance of being above “normal” for our high temperatures through January 24th.
On average January is the coldest month of the year. The average January temperature in Wisconsin is 24.3°.

As far as the rest of our winter, in this case, January-February-March 2020 temperature outlook favors increased chances for below-normal temperatures for the northern Great Plains, upper Mississippi Valley, and much of the Great Lakes. That includes Wisconsin.

In a month you can compare what we had for weather with the “Farmers Almanac”

Farmers Almanac January

Here is another view of our winter overall:

We will see what the Groung hog says in a month!

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