Midwest cooler, higher energy costs

During the past month, all signs of a possible El Nino’s developing have dissipated. Sea-surface temperatures across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean are now close to normal. These trends combined with the latest long-range climate models indicate the ENSO phase will remain in a neutral state at least through winter and possibly into the first part of spring.

Much of the southern, central and eastern U.S. is forecast to see February temperatures that average closer to normal. Temperatures in the eastern third of the country likely will depend largely on the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). Recently the NAO has begun to be positive again and is forecast to remain positive into February. This could signal a warmer weather pattern for the eastern third of the country during part of February. With a colder, more active weather pattern in place across this part of the country, however, there is still some uncertainty if this warmer regime will set up. Some climate indices show that parts of the north-central Plains and upper Midwest will see slightly cooler than normal February temperatures. Heating degree-day surpluses of between 30 and 60 are possible, and heating costs also could be slightly higher than average. On the flip side, the Desert Southwest is projected to see slightly warmer than normal temperatures with heating degree-day deficits of between 20 and 45.


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