The winter may have been in the minds of many Massachusetts residents on Thursday, when the weather suddenly cooled, with a pungent wind that made you want to have worn a heavier coat.
So how bad will it be?
Federal meteorologists say a warmer winter than normal could be in New England. But the jury does not know if it will be more humid than normal. And, as far as the snow is concerned, it can not be foreseen long in advance.
With impeccable timing, the Climate Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its Winter Outlook in the United States from December to February.
NOAA forecasts estimate the probability that temperatures and precipitation will be above, near or below the average for the United States.
The forecast included a warmer winter than normal for the three quarters of the north and west of the nation, including New England.
The southeastern quadrant of the country could go hotter or colder in temperature, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center.
No place in the United States is seen as more likely to be colder than normal, Halpert said.
Overall, this winter looks a lot like the last, said Halpert.
& # 39; & # 39; The country as a whole has been rather mild since 2014-2015 & # 39 ;, said Halpert.
The winter time expert Judah Cohen, of the private company Atmospheric and Environmental Research, uses several indicators to forecast the winter for the National Science Foundation. He also predicted a warm winter, strongly based on weak snowfall in Siberia.
In terms of precipitation, it's a problem. New England has the same probability of precipitation above or below the average.
Meteorologists have said that the third south of the United States and much of the east coast, up to New England, could be chained for a more humid winter than normal. The odds are higher in southeastern Georgia and much of northern and central Florida.
It is expected that New England and much of the rest of the nation have the same chance of having a wetter winter than normal.
Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, parts of Idaho, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are expected to be drier than normal, with the most great chance in Hawaii, Montana and Michigan.
Meteorologists say it is difficult to predict very early snowfall because cold temperatures and precipitation can be combined to make snow even in a warmer winter than average.
"Snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week ago – even during a warmer winter than the average, there will likely be periods of cold and snowfall," the center said in a statement.
Halpert said that the biggest factor in the forecast is a likely El Niño, the natural warming of parts of the Central Pacific that influences time around the world.
El Niño has not yet formed, but it's hot enough. Meteorologists predict that there will be a 75% chance of being in this winter. But it will be weak, not as strong as the El Niño that helped bring the warm winter warm 2015-2016, Halpert said.
"We expect El Niño to be in place between the end of autumn and the beginning of winter," Halpert said in a statement. "Even if a weak El Niño is expected, it could still influence the winter season by bringing more humid conditions to the southern United States, and warmer and drier conditions to parts of the North."
Other large-scale models that can affect the winter climate include the Arctic Oscillation, which can send masses of Arctic air in the South, and the Madden-Julian Oscillation, which can cause heavy rainfall on the west coast , but they are "difficult to predict on a seasonal time scale," said the center.
While El Niño is the most important factor in forecasting, even long-term warming caused by climate change caused by man is a factor, said Halpert.
& # 39; & # 39; All things being equal, the slight kick we get from the weather signal makes things tilt towards the warm side, "said Halpert.
It was the hottest September fourth in the world, and it was the fourth hottest year until September, according to NOAA.
But climate change is not enough to overcome other factors if they push towards cold.
"Even on a warming planet," said Halpert, "does not mean the winter goes away and it's never colder."
The Associated Press material was used in this report.