It might be smart to get out the heating blankets a little early this winter, according to meteorologists, who are predicting winter could get an early start in the Great Plains, Great Lakes and Northeast as below-normal temperatures are forecasted for the period October through December. The State College, PA-based forecasting agency predicted the potential early start to winter in its latest 30 to 90-day forecast.

For October, is calling for the below-normal temperatures to establish themselves from the Rockies eastward to the central and northern Plains, while above-normal temperatures are expected during the month in an area that includes Arizona, California, Nevada and Oregon. In addition, above-normal temperatures should also occur in the Gulf Coast states, the Southeast, the Tennessee Valley, and much of the East Coast. Normal temperatures are expected in the eastern Great Lakes, the Midwest, the mid-Mississippi Valley, Texas, Washington, Idaho and New Mexico.

Looking at the three-month period on the whole, said below-normal temperatures should also occur in an area including the Tennessee Valley, western Gulf Coast region, and from the Plains into the Northeast. The Southeast should experience near-normal temperatures during this time while most of the Rockies to the Pacific Northwest should have above-normal temperatures. The forecasting firm said the Desert Southwest, including all of California, should also have above-normal temperatures during October through December.’s forecast differs from the one put out by WSI Corp. late last month. Andover, MA-based WSI said it expects the November-December period on the whole to be warmer-than-normal for a majority of the United States (see NGI, Sept. 27).

Referencing a standard 30-year normal (1971-2000), WSI said it expects the October-November period to average cooler-than-normal temperatures in most of the northern half of the U.S., with the exception of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the southern Plains and western Gulf Coast states, while warmer-than-normal temperatures will be confined to the Pacific Coast states, the Southwest, and the Southeast. However, WSI said December will bring warmer than normal conditions for almost the entire U.S., excluding the north central states, which are expected to be cooler than normal.

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