Feds: Polar vortex ‘unlikely’ this winter

Don’t expect the polar vortex that left much the U.S. under blankets of snow last winter to return this year, federal officials said. 

In its winter outlook released on Thursday, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) foresees warmer than average temperatures across most of the U.S.

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"Last year’s winter was exceptionally cold and snowy across most of the United States, east of the Rockies,” NOAA's outlook states. "A repeat of this extreme pattern is unlikely this year, although the outlook does favor below-average temperatures in the south-central and southeastern states."

When asked if Arctic temperatures could possibly dip down into the U.S. again like last year, the director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, Mike Halpert, said it would be “unlikely.”

"The idea of seeing [a] repeat of last winter is unlikely,” Halpert said. “I won’t say impossible but it is certainly unlikely.”

NOAA’s outlook also said some parts of the country suffering from drought may see relief. 

California isn’t one of those states, however. Its drought is expected to “persist or intensify in large parts of the state.”

"Complete drought recovery in California this winter is highly unlikely,” Halpert said. “While we’re predicting at least a two in three chance that winter precipitation will be near or above normal throughout the state, with such widespread, extreme deficits, recovery will be slow.”