Forecasting weather several months ahead has always been a difficult task. As with any forecast, we know that weather conditions can change. Regardless, the art of long-range forecasting has made great strides over the past few decades. I was reviewing the Climate Prediction Center's latest forecast for the winter season. The forecast indicates that eastern North Carolina will have near normal temperatures and below normal precipitation. It appears that December and January will be the coldest relative to normal As the season progresses, I expect the subtropical ridge to get established off the Southeast coast and that should allow above normal temperatures to return. In a nutshell, the current forecast calls for a chilly start to winter then a change to warmer conditions by February and March. It would be similar to last winter if that forecast holds, but not quite as cold. I'll update the season as we get closer.