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.
"We expect El Niño to be in place in late fall to early winter", said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. The center has given much of the Southern United States, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Chesapeake Bay, a clear chance of a wetter winter, with pockets of drought around the Dakotas and the Great Lakes.
NOAA released its 2018-2019 Winter Outlook for the United States.
In the U.S. Winter Outlook for December through February, above-average temperatures are most likely across the northern and western U.S., Alaska and Hawaii.
No parts of the country are due to see a colder-than-normal winter.
Winter weather expert Judah Cohen, of the private company Atmospheric and Environmental Research, uses different indicators to predict winter for the National Science Foundation.
The NOAA said that the Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic all have equal chances for below-, near- or above-average temperatures.
"No part of the U.S.is favored to have below-average temperatures", Halpert said.
If NOAA's outlook holds true and much of the nation is milder than normal, it will mark the fourth straight warmer-than-normal winter for the Lower 48.
El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing.
Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the US, and up into the Mid-Atlantic. 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. The chances are highest in southeastern Georgia and much of northern and Central Florida. "The maps show only the most likely category with higher probability indicating greater confidence". They will provide you with estimated snowfall totals for the winter in Eastern Kentucky.
"Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance".
NOAA also doesn't forecast specific snow ranges for the season as there's very little accuracy this far out.
"Even during a warmer-than-average winter, periods of cold temperatures and snowfall are still likely to occur", the agency stated in its outlook.