Minnesotans might not need to bundle up so much this winter.
A strong El Niño effect will bring above-average temperatures across much of the western and northern United States, including Minnesota, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Thursday as it released its 2015-2016 winter outlook.
This year's El Niño, "among the strongest on record," is expected to influence weather and climate patterns this winter by affecting the position of the Pacific jet stream, the agency said. The winter outlook calls for cooler and wetter weather in southern states.
"A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter," Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement. "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.
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Officials also said that by the end of January central and southern California should see some improvement in its severe drought with more relief possible in February and March.
"However, drought is likely to persist in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, with drought development likely in Hawaii, parts of the northern Plains and in the northern Great Lakes region," according to the outlook.