NOAA releases winter outlook: What's in store for NYC?

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It will be a warmer than average winter for much of the United States.according to NOAA's winter weather forecast released today [Thursday].

New York City can expect higher than normal temperatures this winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - but the snow forecast is a bit up in the air.

La Niña is the biggest influencer in its forecast, and it's also the biggest wildcard, as there's now a 55 to 65 percent chance it actually develops.

La Nina is an ocean-atmosphere phenomenon (the counterpart of El Nino) that involves a cooling of Eastern Central Pacific Ocean waters.

NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center issued their winter weather outlook for 2017-2018.

∙ Elsewhere, drought could develop across scattered areas of the South, mainly in regions that missed the rainfall associated with the active 2017 hurricane season. The 2015-2016 winter was record warm, about 4.55 degrees hotter than normal.

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The climate signals in these areas are not strong enough to tilt the odds either way, NOAA said.

Nationally, Halpert said, he expected a generally warm winter, but not as warm a winter as the past two, which were No. 1 and No. 6 all time in terms of warmth.

Private forecasting firm Accuweather agrees that a La Nina pattern is likely to emerge with the start of winter.

Other factors that influence winter weather include the Arctic Oscillation, which influences the number of arctic air masses that penetrate into the South and is hard to predict more than one to two weeks in advance, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which can affect the number of heavy rain events along the West Coast.

Mt. Baker Ski Area is gearing up for the season, which usually begins between November 19-22, depending on the amount and quality of snowfall, officials said on their snow report.

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