FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Curtis Carey
The nation's top climate and weather experts of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced the winter weather outlook for the United States, saying that the recent string of record warm winters may be over, as normal winter weather returns. "We've probably forgotten over the last three years what a normal winter is like," said NOAA Administrator D. James Baker. "With La Niña and El Niño out of the way, normal (defined as the period 1961-1990) winter weather has a chance to return to the U.S. this year."
At a news conference today in Washington, D.C., NOAA's National Weather Service issued its official outlook for winter 2000-01. According to Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. and National Weather Service Director Jack Kelly, "As in most normal years, from New England to the Carolinas, cold weather will be part of your routine this winter. In Florida, the enhanced likelihood of warmer-than-normal-temperatures could be punctuated by cold air outbreaks, or Florida Freezes'."
Kelly said, "Americans must be careful
this winter and prepare for a little bit of everything."
He added a reminder about the importance of NOAA Weather Radio,
"We expect considerable swings in temperature and precipitation.
Having the latest weather reports and warnings from NOAA
Weather Radio will remain crucial this winter."
"As we enter a period without the strong influences of El Niño or La Niña long-term seasonal outlooks become more challenging to produce," Baker said.
According to Baker, "NOAA's gains in climate system research and advances in our computer modeling capabilities are making great strides. The Argo Ocean Profiling Network, being implemented with international partners, is a major step forward in establishing the global ocean observing system required to help weather forecasters and scientists better understand and predict the influences of climate events, but more needs to be done.
"We have made significant advances in our climate forecasting skills, but we have a lot of work to do," Baker said, adding that seasonal and climate forecasts will be as important in the 21st century as it was last century.
NOAA's budget request for 2001 includes $28 million for the Climate Observation and Services Initiative and $2.3 million for the modernization of our cooperative observer network, which are designed to improve climate observations and forecasts.
The 2000-01 winter outlook will be updated
on the Web next on Nov. 16, 2000.