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  • Ray Schmitt

The World's Most Accurate Winter and Ski Season Forecast for 2020-21

Last week at Salient Predictions we issued our long-range forecasts for the winter months in the lower 48. The forecasts indicate generally warmer-than-normal conditions across much of the country during November and December, but then cooling in the northern tier in January, and especially into February. The maps below show the predicted average temperature departures from normal (in degrees C) for December, January and February.



US Temperature anomaly forecast for December 2020 (in degrees C)



US Temperature anomaly forecast for January 2021 (in degrees C)



US Temperature anomaly forecast for February 2021 (in degrees C)


The only cooler-than-normal conditions in December are for Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota, with the pattern intensifying in January and then invading the northern half of the country from Washington to Maine in February, with a deep dive through the Midwest. Meanwhile, the South stays warmer than normal, and the Southwest especially so.

We've also produced precipitation forecasts for the winter months (below).



US precipitation forecasts (as a percent of normal) for December 2020



US precipitation forecasts (as a percent of normal) for January 2021



US precipitation forecasts (as a percent of normal) for February 2021


These are presented as a percent of normal, and much of the country can expect normal or slightly above normal precipitation through the winter months. The Northwest can expect a wetter-than-normal December, fading to normal later in the season. However, the southwest and Florida will be mostly dry, as will much of California. Combining the temperature and precipitation forecasts suggests that the best skiing conditions won’t arrive for many places until February. Montana should have a full snow season, but Colorado is likely to be shortchanged on their ski season with warm and dry conditions predominating.


Salient Predictions as a company has a positive winter outlook, signing on new, large customers in agriculture and energy, and developing a sophisticated streamflow forecasting tool in collaboration with Climatics. Stay in touch with us by visiting our website, following us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and catching our blog posts right here.

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