While the current spell of unseasonably cold weather might have you fearing the worst this winter, the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center's outlook from December through February is anticipating a milder winter for much of the US, according to their forecast released Thursday.
Above-average temperatures are likely across most northern and western states from December through February, according to the 2018-2019 Winter Outlook released by the agency's Climate Prediction Center on Thursday.
"That does not mean that below average temperatures can not occur", Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement. The effect could "influence the winter season by bringing wetter conditions across the southern United States, and warmer, drier conditions to parts of the North".
Elsewhere in the country, the Pacific Northwest has a much greater likelihood of warmer temperatures this winter.
No parts of the country are due to see a colder-than-normal winter.
Other climate patterns that can affect winter weather are challenging to predict on a seasonal time scale.
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The Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.
No place in the U.S.is expected to experience cooler-than-average temperatures, according to NOAA. It is expected to be weaker than the El Nino that developed during the 2015/2016 winter. During the winter, typical El Nino conditions in the US can include wetter-than-average precipitation in the South and drier conditions in parts of the North. On Thursday, NOAA released their annual 2018-19 Winter Outlook.
Precipitation is expected to be above normal across the southern tier of the United States, extending up into the Mid-Atlantic.
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Drought conditions are forecast to stay put this winter in the Southwest, Southern California, central Great Basin, central Rockies, Northern Plains and portions of the interior Pacific Northwest. Since the Southeast is the only region not projected to have above-normal temperatures, a few winter storms could bring snow to the Deep South this season.
Above-average rainfall is most likely northern Florida and southern Georgia this winter. He also forecasted a warm winter, heavily based on weak snowfall in Siberia.
The next update from NOAA will come mid-November.
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Farmer's Almanac Editor Peter Geiger said in late August his publication predicts "a very long, cold and snow-filled winter".