Fewer days of sweater weather?

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

This week’s forecast is enough to make you forget it’s technically fall. While people in other parts of the country are wearing their fall boots and sipping pumpkin spice lattes, here in Phoenix, we’re cranking the AC and opting for iced drinks.

[RELATED: Fall colors about to arrive in Arizona]

The upper 90s to low triple digits are in the forecast through the weekend. But eventually, we WILL cool down.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather blog]

We won’t stay in triple digit territory forever. However, we actually may see fewer days of sweater weather this year. 

When we look at long-term forecasts, we look to the Climate Prediction Center, a branch of NOAA. The fall forecast, meaning for October, November and December, shows a likelihood that Arizona will see above average temperatures.   

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here to see NOAA's Fall Outlook

When you look a bit further ahead to the January through March time period, the forecasts lean again toward above average temperatures for our region.  So, signs are pointing to a warmer winter and spring at this point.

Both time periods show an equal chance for either below or above average precipitation.

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here for NOAA's Spring Outlook

One factor in this long-term forecast equation is the development of La Nina conditions. Scientists believe we are moving into a La Nina pattern for the fall and winter ahead.

La Nina means colder than average sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. El Nino conditions occur when we see warmer than average sea surface temperatures in that same region. Either temperature change can bring weather pattern impacts around the globe. 

During a La Nina winter, the Pacific Northwest typically sees cooler, wetter weather, while the Desert Southwest sees warmer and drier than normal weather.

[READ MORE: Monsoon 2017 will go down as a 'non-soon']

We see La Nina conditions every 3-4 years on average. The conditions typically last 9-12 months, but can last longer. La Nina conditions can also lead to more active hurricane seasons in the Atlantic.

La Nina conditions can sometimes change, occasionally weakening or strengthening. We’ll keep you updated as we head into the winter months ahead. 

MOBILE/APP USERS:  Click here for NOAA's La Nina graphic

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