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Fall, early winter forecast issued by Weather Channel

The late fall and early winter temperature forecast (October-December) from The Weather Channel shows that the country will see a fairly balanced mix of above and below-average temperatures depending on the region where you live.

From October through December, warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast from the south-central states north and northeastward into the Great Lakes and Northeast. 

Temperatures are expected to be the farthest above average from the middle-Missouri Valley to the Great Lakes. This would include cities such as Chicago, Ill., Detroit, Mich., Des Moines, Iowa, and Kansas City, Mo.

Conversely, below-average temperatures are in the forecast for portions of Southeast and much of the West from October to December.

"The strongest, current climate signal is the cold North Pacific Ocean, otherwise known as the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). This signal typically helps drive cooler weather in the western U.S. and warmer temperatures in the eastern U.S. during late fall and early winter," said Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford of Weather Services International (WSI), a part of The Weather Channel Companies. 

Dr. Crawford and WSI believe that an emerging El Nino event will be relatively weak. El Nino is the warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean waters, which can impact weather patterns in the United States, particularly in the winter months.

Related: Origin of the term El Nino

Since the El Nino event is forecast to be weak, WSI believes that impacts of the strong aforementioned Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) will likely be the dominant influence the next few months, trumping the El Nino signal.

As we've mentioned in prior winters, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) can play a big role in the weather conditions that we see as we head towards winter. We've seen the extremes of the NAO play out in two different directions the last few years.

On one hand, we had the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, which featured a strongly negative NAO and a correspondingly strong "Greenland Block", bringing very cold temperatures to the eastern states.

Related: Memorable photos from winter 2010-2011

Last year was the complete opposite with the positive phase of the NAO dominating, resulting in widespread warmth and a general lack of snow across the country.

Related: 4th warmest winter

Dr. Crawford says, "It is still too early to predict the behavior of the NAO for the upcoming winter, but it is clearly the key to a successful winter forecast. For now, we are relying on the Pacific Decadal Oscillation signal, which generally suggests a cool period for the western U.S. and a mild period in much of the East."

Related: video, maps with the fall, early winter forecast

The Weather Channel Seasonal Forecast is produced at WSI's Global Forecast Center in Andover, Massachusetts. As part of The Weather Channel Companies (TWCC), WSI provides premier business-to-business weather services to media, aviation, and energy industries, as well as specialized forecasts for public distribution on The Weather Channel and Over 200 meteorologists at TWCC Global Forecast Centers in Atlanta, Andover, Houston, and Birmingham, England produce pinpoint daily forecasts for over 60,000 locations worldwide and other specialized forecasts and visualizations utilizing state-of-the-art and proprietary computer modeling, analysis, and distribution systems developed by TWCC scientists and engineers.