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NOAA releases official winter outlook

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MADISON (WKOW) - The winter outlook for 2020-2021 has been released by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.


The outlook analyzes 'meteorological winter' from December through February.

In southern Wisconsin, it shows 'equal chances' for above or below average temperatures through this time period.

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Meanwhile, there is a slight chance for above average precipitation in our region. This does not necessarily mean it will all be snow, but a wetter pattern is possible.



On average, Madison receives 51" of snow through the year, with 37" falling during the winter months.


Average snow graph for the year for Madison, WI

Average high temperatures in southern Wisconsin start at 36° December 1st and bottom out at 27° by mid-January before recovering through February.

Average low temperatures start at 21° December 1st and bottom out at 11° by mid-January.

Historically, January is our coldest month of the year while December is our snowiest.


The planet has now entered into an La Niña pattern. This means there are much cooler than average waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean which impact global weather patterns.

It can lead to wetter patterns in the northern U.S. during the winter and potentially a cooler set up.

In the southern U.S. a drier and warmer set up can occur.

El Nino maps

La Niña impacts during winter

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