Chicago Winter

What could Chicago's winter look like? Here are the latest projections  

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Last winter provided a surprising amount of rain and warmer-than-normal temperatures in the Chicago area, but could the region be in for a repeat?

According to the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center, that very well could be the case.

As of their latest update earlier this month, forecasters believe there is a greater than 95% chance that an El Niño weather pattern will persist through Feb. 2024.

In fact, there is a 66% chance that this year’s El Niño could be considered a “strong” event, pushing temperatures more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above their normal levels.

As a result, forecasts for the coming winter in the Chicago area are suggesting that residents could experience warmer-than-normal temperatures, with below-normal precipitation.

During meteorological winter, which takes place between Dec. 1, 2023 and Feb. 29, 2024, the CPC says its projections are “leaning above” in terms of average temperatures in the Chicago area and the entire upper Midwest.

Those same projections are “leaning below” for precipitation level during that time.

Those projections currently hold into March as well, according to NWS officials.

Such a development would be in line with how El Niño events typically unfold. During those instances, Illinois and the Chicago area typically see warmer temperatures and below-normal precipitation, especially in the fall and winter months, according to researchers at the University of Illinois.

Forecasters are quick to caution that El Niño weather patterns can be unpredictable, and in some years parts of the country are impacted more heavily than others.

More information on El Niño can be found on the NBC Chicago app.

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