Accuweather.com's latest long-range forecast, released yesterday, reiterates what the private commercial weather service and federal forecasters have been saying for some time: The winter of 2007-2008 will be warmer than normal, particularly in the South and East. The two forecasts do differ on how warm, however at least at this point. An updated federal forecast is expected soon.
"When the warmth returns this December it may last all of the way through February," the Accuweather forecast reads. "In fact, in some places, the wildest weather may be over the next three or four weeks and then again in March or April as a late spring may be in the making for much of the East.... Even in the warmest of winters, cold and snow will enter the picture from time to time it just will not make an extended stay."
The overriding cause of the warmth is a La Niña pattern of cooling in the Pacific Ocean, which sets weather trends worldwide. In the United States, the cool waters affect the jet stream winds that wave across the country, leaving some areas starved for moisture and others enjoying warm tropical air.
One consequence of the warmth, should the forecasts prove accurate, is that the high cost of heating fuel this winter will be offset by a relatively lesser need to burn it.
This image shows La Niña.
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