CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- It’s already been warmer than average fall in the Lowcountry, and federal forecasters predict that trend could continue into winter.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released its updated outlook Thursday, showing that South Carolina is in for a slightly warmer and wetter winter season.
While temperatures are expected to remain about average in the Lowcountry, there is a slight probability that temperatures lean above-average in the Upstate between November and January.
“In our area, temperatures for the last month of this year and the first two months of next year should reach into the mid-60s for your highs and mid-40s for your lows,” Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Olivia Lawrence said.
The NOAA outlook also indicates a wet winter for the Lowcountry, showing a higher probability that the area will see above-average precipitation through February.
“We will likely see more precipitation this coming winter than our normal 6-7 inch totals,” Olivia said. “Higher rainfall trends stretch from the Upstate all the way to the southern tip of Florida, so the southeastern United States can expect a wetter winter ahead.”
The predictions are consistent with what was expected as the El Niño Southern Oscillation shifted from La Niña into an El Niño pattern. While a La Niña phase typically brings a warmer drier winter to the southeast, an El Niño phase brings a cooler and wetter pattern.
But, because the United States is still in moderate El Niño conditions — despite early models pointing to a stronger El Niño phase by this time of year — this winter is expected to bring slightly higher than normal rainfall and fairly average temperatures to the south.