Contrary to earlier predictions of a "bitterly cold" winter in many places from AccuWeather, the latest winter forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the coming season might not be so frigid after all. Interestingly enough, NOAA says two-thirds of the continental United States will likely experience warmer-than-normal conditions.
Is it just us, or is it really strange to see so much yellow and orange on a winter outlook map?
Where in the United States will it be cold this winter?
The National Weather Service predicts above normal temperatures for many regions of the country. The Southwest, Northeast, and even Alaska of all places can expect to see higher temps. On the other hand, the upper Midwest could be in for a cold few months, and parts of the Northern Plains and the Northwest can expect to see below normal temps. Interestingly enough, Hawaii can expect to see an increased chance in precipitation. And if you live in the northern Rockies or Midwest, you should probably get a water-proof jacket, because those areas will likely see above average precipitation.
If you live in one of the warmer regions, this is very good news if you aren't fond of dropping temps and piling snow. But if you're not looking forward to another warm winter, take comfort in hearing that it's not likely we'll have another top ten record warm winter, according to Mike Halpert, the deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.
"It would be quite surprising to see a third very warm winter in a row," Halpert said.
How long will winter last this year?
Forecasts are predicting that winter will arrive late and leave early this season. Ken Kunkel, a meteorologist at NOAA, told the Associated Press that the average first freeze in the United States from 2007 to 2016 is a whole week later than the average from 1971 to 1980. Furthermore, he said across America, there has been an ongoing trend of the first freeze arriving later and later into the calendar season. He gave an example of an Illinois town called Ottawa, which for decades saw the average first freeze in mid-October. But last year, the first freeze was November 12. Though Kunkel said last year was "off the charts" in terms of first freeze, it sounds like we can expect the trend of a short winter season to continue.
Why were earlier winter forecasts saying it would be 'bitterly cold'?
Previously, meteorologists from AccuWeather had predicted that the Midwest could expect to see a "bitterly" cold winter, and that the Plains and Great Lakes regions could expect to see teeth-chattering temperatures heading into the New Year. Meanwhile, AccuWeather also predicted "unusual" cold blasts in the northern Plains, with some dropping to a bone-chilling negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you can see, quite a bit has changed in terms of seasonal predictions since then.
Of course, it's important to keep in mind that just because warmer weather may be likely in some places doesn't mean that a cold snap won't happen. Only time will tell how this winter weather will turn out, but as always, it pays to be prepared for anything.
Find out some easy ways to keep your home warm if you get chilly in the video below.