NOAA Winter Outlook 2017

Overall, the NOAA is predicting a greater-than-30% chance of below-average winter temperatures for some northwestern and central northern parts of the U.S. Meanwhile, chances range from about 30% to over 50% for higher than normal temperatures in the southern U.S., across the middle of the country and up into the northeast, including Maine.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its region-based forecast for above and below average temperatures and precipitation.

The National Weather Service said there's a 55- to 65-percent chance La Nina will develop before the winter comes. If that happens, much of the Northern U.S. could have a wet winter, with more snow, rain, or freezing rain possible.

La Nina is one of the phases of the El Nino Southern Oscillation, and it occurs when ocean temperatures in the southern Pacific Ocean drop slightly below their average. The 2015-2016 winter was record warm, about 4.55 degrees hotter than normal.

While that weather phenomenon is unlikely to have a major effect on New England, Halpert still advised people across the country to get ready for the coming season.

Warmer-than-normal conditions are most likely across the southern two-thirds of the continental US and along the East Coast, including North Carolina, as well as across Hawaii and in western and northern Alaska.

The climate signals in these areas are not strong enough to tilt the odds either way, NOAA said.

The normal amount of precipitation for December, the start of meteorological winter, is 8.2 inches, Mott said.

There was a La Nina for the early part of last winter. Although however cold, low temperatures will pale in comparison to those in the northern Plains where the mercury is set to dip to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit at times, while the southern Plains, Southwest and California can expect a milder and drier winter than last season, according to Accuweather.

In general, the winter forecast is expected to be dominated by La Nina, a cooling of the Pacific equatorial waters. In its USA winter forecast released earlier this month, Accuweather predicts that some chilly winter weather is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, with January threatening to bring the coldest air of the season.

The winter outlook is expected to be updated on November 16. "It's a good area to head out to if you're a big skier", Pastelok said.

  • Joey Payne