While in Arizona last week enjoying the nice weather, I smiled a bit more when I read this article from The Weather Channel talking about the upcoming winter season. Are we in line for a mild winter?

El Niño is anticipated to exert an influence on winter temperatures in the United States. Typically, this results in milder winter conditions in the northern regions of the country, while the southern areas experience colder and wetter weather.

TSM Media Center
TSM Media Center

The winter season in the United States is expected to bear the hallmark of El Niño's impact, as outlined in a recent report by The Weather Company, an IBM Business, and Atmospheric G2. The influence of El Niño is reflected in the overarching three-month winter outlook, which strongly favors a robust El Niño presence this winter. This typically correlates with warmer-than-average conditions in much of the northern United States, while portions of the southern United States usually experience temperatures somewhat below average during winter.

It is worth noting that this outlook pertains to a three-month trend, and there will likely be periods of both warmer and colder weather within each respective region compared to the general pattern described above.

The winter season might commence with temperatures much warmer than the norm in the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and Northeast. Those in the northern U.S. who hope for a chilly December to set the holiday mood may find themselves disappointed, as cities such as Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, and New York City are all currently expected to have temperatures significantly above the average.


The southern tier of the U.S. should experience temperatures close to the seasonal norm, although the southern U.S. may trend somewhat colder than average as the new year begins. A typical characteristic of El Niño is the occurrence of cool and wet conditions in parts of the southern states during the heart of winter, and this is reflected in the outlook from the Southern Plains to Georgia and the Carolinas. While not guaranteed, this combination of factors could elevate the likelihood of snow and ice in certain areas.

In January, portions of the Northwest and Northeast have the highest probability of experiencing above-average temperatures.

As winter approaches its final month, a division between the East and West may emerge, with February potentially featuring warmer temperatures compared to the norm in the Northwest and northern Rockies. Conversely, the best chance for colder-than-average temperatures might extend from the Southeast to the mid-Atlantic region.

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Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

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Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi

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