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December 2017 Regional Climate Impacts and Outlooks

Picture of Regional Climate Impacts and Outlooks, NOAA/NCEI
Courtesy of NOAA

NOAA and its partners have released the latest Regional Climate Impacts and Outlooks, which recap autumn conditions and provide insight into what to expect this winter.

Autumn Temperature Recap

The contiguous United States just experienced its 10th warmest autumn on record, with above-average temperatures spanning most of the Nation except for the Northern Rockies and northern High Plains. Record warmth was observed in the Southwest and New England, where Arizona, New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire were each record warm. The record autumn warmth in the Southwest was driven largely by warm November temperatures, while the record warmth in New England was mostly due to warm October temperatures.

2018 Temperature Outlook

According to the Climate Prediction Center’s three-month temperature outlook, above-average January–March temperatures are likely across the southern United States, extending northward out West through the central Rockies and all the way to Maine in the eastern part of the Nation. Probabilities lean toward colder-than-normal temperatures along the northern tier of the country from the Pacific Northwest to Michigan. Alaska’s outlook ranges from colder-than-normal temperatures in the south to above-average in the north.

Autumn Precipitation Recap

Autumn also brought drier-than-normal conditions to the United States, with the Lower 48 as a whole ranking in the driest third of the historical record. Below-average precipitation was observed for parts of the Southwest, Southern Plains, Lower Mississippi Valley, and Mid-Atlantic. Parts of the Southwest, including Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona, were record dry. Arkansas was also record dry, receiving only 36.1 percent of average rainfall statewide. However, above-average precipitation was observed in the Northwest, Northern Rockies, and parts of the Plains, Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast.

2018 Precipitation Outlook

The Climate Prediction Center’s three-month precipitation outlook favors below-normal precipitation across the southern United States from January–March, with probabilities greatest for drier conditions along the eastern Gulf Coast, stretching from New Orleans across most of Florida, and into southern Georgia and toward southeastern South Carolina. In contrast, above-average precipitation is more likely in the Great Lakes and Midwestern states of Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and portions of Illinois and Kentucky. The same is true farther west, in eastern Montana and the northern regions of Alaska.

Impacts and Outlooks for Your Region

Get more details for your region in the December 2017 climate impacts and outlooks summaries:

Creating These Quarterly Summaries

NOAA’s Regional Climate Services Program lead the production of these quarterly summaries of climate impacts and outlooks for various regions of the United States as well as parts of Canada along the border. This effort, which began in 2012, now includes as many as 10 unique regional products, all produced collaboratively with partner organizations.

Partnering with Canada

Since December 2016, NOAA’s Regional Climate Services Director for Alaska has been working with our Canadian collaborators from the Environment and Climate Change Canada Northwest Provinces to create a seamless joint summary for this region. Similarly, NOAA’s Regional Climate Services Director for the Eastern Region and for the Central Region have also worked with Environment and Climate Change Canada to create seamless assessments for the Gulf of Maine and Great Lakes regions. Our partnership with Canada helps us provide the tailored information these communities need to better understand their unique regional climates.

You can access all of the Climate Impacts and Outlooks summaries as well as additional reports and assessments through the U.S. Drought Portal Reports web page at

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