Winter outlook for Indiana: Drier, warmer than normal

2015-2016 U.S. Winter Outlook precipitation map
NOAA image

The coming winter will likely be drier and warmer than normal in Indiana, according to the winter outlook that the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued yesterday.

2015-2016 U.S. winter outlook temperature map
NOAA image

This year’s El Niño (annual warming of Pacific Ocean surface temperatures along the coasts of Ecuador and northern Peru) is among the strongest on record. Forecasters expect it to influence weather and climate patterns this winter by impacting the position of the Pacific jet stream.

“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” CPC deputy director Mike Halpert said in a news release. “While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”

The seasonal outlook does not project where and when snowstorms might hit or provide total seasonal snowfall accumulations. Snow forecasts are dependent upon the strengths and tracks of winter storms, which forecasters can generally not predict more than a week in advance.

Tornado season begins

NWS northern Indiana tornado climatology graphic
NWS northern Indiana climatology graphic

Tornado season has begun. No, really.

In northeastern Indiana, northwestern Ohio and southern Lower Michigan, more tornadoes happen in October than in all but three other months (see graph above).

So, even though spring is the peak season for severe weather, it’s a good idea for storm spotters to review their training at this time of year.

A good way to do that is to go through the online spotter training at

Even if you’ve already been through the online and live training, it’s probably been a while and we had a slow spring severe weather season that provided few opportunities to practice spotter skills.

Make sure you’re ready for October.