Get Ready for a Mild—and Rainy—Winter, Forecasters Say

October 19, 2018, 1:59 PM UTC

Forecasters at the National Weather Service think much of the U.S. will have a warmer—and wetter—winter than normal.

The forecasters published their predictions for U.S. weather in December, January, and February on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website on Thursday, saying only the southeast U.S. will have a standard winter with temperatures and precipitation keeping in line with historic averages. Parts of the northwest, including Oregon, Washington, and Montana, have a greater-than-50% chance of experiencing warmer-than-expected temperatures. The southwest, extending up to the northeast, have a 40% to 50% chance of warmer weather.

Expected precipitation, however, could be a different story. Alaska has a 40% chance of increased precipitation this year, matching Florida, parts of Texas, and other states across the south, according to the forecasters. The northeast and midwest are largely expected to have an average year for precipitation. Northern states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Montana might have significantly less precipitation than normal.

Of course, forecasting the weather is notoriously difficult and the predictions made by the forecasters are subject to change. It’s also worth noting that the forecasters base their predictions on probability and don’t say how much precipitation the U.S. will get or how hot temperatures will be.

Still, the forecasts provide valuable insight into what we can expect from the weather this winter. And if the predictions are true, it might not be as bitterly cold this year as in previous years.