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What will the remainder of winter look like?

Rahshid Jones takes a spill after trying to ride his sled standing at Reid Middle School in Pittsfield, Mass., on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. "That didn't work!" he exclaimed. (Stephanie Zollshan/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well the decorations are up around town, but it hasn’t been feeling much like the holiday season (there have been a couple of exceptions) with plenty of warm weather.

Meteorological winter started December 1. I thought we could talk about the winter outlook, which is a very generalized forecast for the rest of December, January and February.

The forecast for the Southeast looks warmer and drier than normal. But why? La Nina is expected to form late this fall or early this winter and then influence winter conditions. But, if La Nina forms, it is projected to be weak and short-lived.

There are other factors that can play a role in winter weather too though. The Arctic Oscillation influences how many Arctic air masses make into the southern part of the country and create nor'easters on the East Coast. Meanwhile the Madden-Julian Oscillation can impact the number of heavy rain events there are in the Pacific Northwest.

Here in the Lowcountry, temperatures are expected to be warmer than average. Our average highs in the winter are between 59 and 66 degrees. Meanwhile our lows are between 37 and 43 degrees. So if this outlook holds true then expect temperatures to generally be above these values.

As far as the precipitation outlook, it looks to be drier than normal and that could be the case across most of the South. This would be especially bad news for areas that are already experiencing drought…like the Upstate as well as parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.

So we will have to wait and see if La Nina even forms, but the bottom line is to take this winter one week at a time when the forecast is the most accurate. But let’s just get through fall first…you know enjoy one season at a time!

This article is the first entry in More than Meteorology, a weather blog written by certified broadcast meteorologist Sonya Stevens. To view more More than Meteorology blog entries, click here.

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