The Climate Prediction Center updated the winter forecast for the United States on Thursday. It is expected to be warmer than normal across much of the western and northern United States. The southern United States will generally be colder and wetter than normal with the wettest weather across the Gulf coastal states. Eastern North Carolina should experience temperatures a bit colder than we usually expect during winter. Rainfall should be near or slightly above normal during the period. The Pacific equatorial water will average above normal, which occurs in an El Nino. El Nino winters occur about once every 4 to 5 years and typically bring wetter and colder conditions to our area. The next update from the Climate Prediction Center will occur in mid-November.