Northeast Snowstorm Aside, Winter Looks Mild for Most of U.S.

Despite the snow blanketing the U.S. Northeast, the forecast for the rest of winter calls for mild temperatures across most of the nation, according to the Climate Prediction Center.

The warm forecast is in line with the last several three-month outlooks from the agency. The only parts of the U.S. expected to have cooler-than-normal conditions are the Pacific Northwest and southern Alaska.

Along with the mild temperatures, the southern U.S. is expected to be dryer than normal from January to March. The Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Great Lakes, meanwhile, all have a high chance of getting more rain and snow.

The forecast mirrors many pre-season commercial outlooks that have called for above-average temperatures across the bulk of the contiguous U.S. because of an ongoing La Nina in the equatorial Pacific. La Nina bends the jet stream away from much of the southern U.S. leaving colder air further north on the continent.

Meteorologists measure winter from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, while the conventional calendar marks the first day of the season on Dec. 21.

Temperatures in New York’s Central Park have been an average of 0.5 degree Fahrenheit above normal through December 16, the National Weather Service said. Several major U.S. cities have been warmer than normal, including Chicago (5.3 degrees above normal) St. Louis (4.2 degrees above) and Cleveland (1.5 degrees).

Across the 48 contiguous states, November also had above normal temperatures, coming in at that the fourth-warmest in records going back 126 years, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

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