This winter may bring colder-than-average temperatures to the Western North Carolina mountains early on, but this winter may end up warmer than average overall, according to an outlook released by The Weather Company.
A weak La Niña is expected to develop, which would result in colder temperatures in the East and warmer temperatures in the West, which flips the pattern of the last several months, said Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company.
Last winter was the Lower 48's warmest December-February period in the 121 years on record, according to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information.
NOAA's winter outlook indicates that La Niña will also be a factor this winter. This would result in more preciptation in the northern states and less in the South, compared to last winter.
Much of the southern tier is expected to be drier than average, with the greatest chance of below-average precipitation from central Texas along the northern Gulf Coast into northern and central Florida.
This is not good news for portions of the South and Southeast, which are experiencing drought conditions. Alabama and Mississippi are experiencing abnormally dry conditions and almost 30 percent of Georgia is in extreme drought, according to the drought monitor released Oct. 20.
According to NOAA, "Drought is expected to persist and spread in the southeastern U.S and develop in the southern Plains.