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Winter Forecast: Drier South, Heavy Snow (Oct 20, 2011)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Government forecasters say this winter looks to be warmer and drier than usual, with the drought worsening across the South.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that like last winter, the Pacific Ocean cooling known as La Niña is affecting the weather.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center Deputy Director Mike Halpert says dry conditions could extend from Southern California east across drought-stricken Texas and Oklahoma and along the Gulf Coast into Florida and possibly north to Virginia.

Associate State Climatologist Gary McManus says Oklahoma’s current drought traces back to October 2010, when last year’s La Nina was gathering strength.

He says 2011 is shaping up to be one of the driest on record, and could threaten the state’s all-time driest year of 1910, when Oklahoma only averaged19 inches of rain.

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