If you like snow, head to Michigan this winter: Mississippi’s NOAA forecast

Published 7:22 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

If you like a cold wet winter with snow, this may not be your season in the Deep South.

If you like it warmer and drier, good news. You can thank a weak La Nina expected this winter across Mississippi and into Alabama, Louisiana and Florida for a mild, warm winter without much precipitation.

That’s according to the just-released winter outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

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They aren’t always right, but the forecast released this week suggests Mississippi will be delightful this winter, unless you need rain for lawn or crops.

Forecasters say La Nina has a 55 to 65 percent chance of developing before winter sets in. If so, it will shape winter, driving warmer, drier weather in the Deep South, with Mississippi directly in the warmer, drier climate.

“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.”

That doesn’t mean it won’t snow in the South. But areas like Oxford to Jackson, which average 1 to 2 inches of snow per year, aren’t as likely to get snow due to warmer temperatures and a flow that doesn’t set up for as many arctic patterns. Precipitation, for instance, may be normal in extreme North Mississippi but temperatures may be warmer than normal.

Most of the state, from central to further south, is forecast to be warmer and drier. That means good weather for being outdoors and going to the beach offseason. But it could also spell drought for some areas.

It should be noted, just since we are talking about snow, that one of the largest snowfalls in record in Mississippi occurred in Batesville, when 15 inches fell in 1895. That’s not likely to happen this year, if La Nina develops.

According to NOAA:

*Drier-than-normal conditions are most likely across the entire southern U.S.

*Elsewhere, drought could develop across scattered areas of the South, mainly in regions that missed the rainfall associated with the active 2017 hurricane season.