The National Weather Service issued their long-awaited winter forecast on Thursday and it calls for a less severe winter across much of the East Coast. The Southeast is expected to be warmer and much drier than last year. The period from December through February averaged 3.75 degrees below normal last year. Average highs during the winter are in the lower to middle 50s with lows in the lower 30s. There should be less storm activity as well and that should mean less precipitation. Last winter much of eastern North Carolina received more than average snowfall. The drier and warmer forecast would suggest less snow this winter but even milder winters can sometimes produce one or two snowfalls across our area. We'll see how that turns out over the next few months.