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Rainy season might come for Tri-State

The extended forecast for October through March shows increased amounts of precipitation for the area, said Russell Martin, meteorologist for the National Centers for Environmental Predictions.

Monday, August 30, 1999

The extended forecast for October through March shows increased amounts of precipitation for the area, said Russell Martin, meteorologist for the National Centers for Environmental Predictions.

"Fortunately, here, for the next several periods from the October-November-December period through the January-February-March period, we have enhanced probabilities for above-normal precipitation in the Ohio Valley," Martin said. "If that comes true, that will help you out with the drought."

How the increased precipitation will fall remains unclear, however, Martin added.

The Ohio Valley will experience above-normal winter temperatures this year, but that does not necessarily rule out snow, he said.

"That’s always something that’s tricky to call," Martin said. "But in the Ohio area, it is usually cold enough that most of your precipitation is snow, and I expect that will be true again this winter. But for the December-January-February period, there’s a likelihood of it being above-normal temperatures over a lot of the southern part of the country including the Ohio Valley."

The expected warmer winter has not been influenced by this summer’s drought, however, Martin added.

The weather phenomenon known as La Nina might actually be the main cause of the drought and the warm winter, he said.

"There’s not much of a correlation between a dry summer and the upcoming winter that I’m aware of," Martin said. "There is, in this case, a relationship with La Nina – when the surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific are colder than normal. That situation is kind of what is driving the larger scale weather patterns. It could not only be the explanation for the dry weather we’ve been having this summer, but we also expect it to drive the weather patterns this coming winter."

La Nina, and her predecessor, El Nino – the warming of the central and eastern Pacific – have been causing drastic weather conditions in the area and in the United States for more than a year now, Martin said.

"We experienced La Nina through last winter and it looks like it will persist into late winter or early spring," he said.

But warmer winters might be a trend that will stick with the area, Martin added.

"We’ve seen some long term trends in the temperatures, especially in the winter," he said. "We’ve seen some places getting warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Of course, it varies with each location. But if you look at the whole country, you can see it warming up slightly during the whole year over the United States with slight variations."