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How does NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center make winter forecasts when ENSO is neutral?

The best forecast clue for what winter is likely to be like in the Southeast and other parts of the US is whether El Niño or La Niña is present in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This year we have neutral conditions, which makes a winter prediction tougher. But NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center still issued a winter forecast earlier this month, based on other signals like long-term climate trends in temperature and precipitation. You can read more at