Meteorologists usually think of three months as winter across the United States. Although the calendar doesn't indicated the official start of winter until late December, it is well known that the coldest weather occurs between December 1st and the end of February. I've talked about the winter forecast a couple of times already this fall and I see little need to change very much about what I expect.
The fall season(September, October and November) has been going along according to plan. Temperatures have been staying close to normal and we've seen above normal rainfall. The last two weeks of November continues to look seasonable with no major cold snap expected. The transition to winter is well underway with Alaska and western Canada seeing a buildup of cold air. The interesting part will be whether the cold can make it to the Southeast this winter. The last two winters we've seen a series of cold shots head into eastern North Carolina with below normal temperatures. It appears this year will be a bit different. I'm not seeing as many factors which point to sustained cold air. Yes, we'll see a few cold periods but they should not last as long as last year. Will there be any significant snow? It is hard to make that forecast for now but I'm sure we'll see at least a couple of chances.
The general forecast for now calls for a chilly December with near or below normal temperatures. January should not be as cold as last year with temperatures averaging near or slightly above normal. It appears that February should be a warmer than normal month. Precipitation should be slightly below normal for the winter but I don't see a return to drought conditions over the next 3 to 4 months.
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