Forecasters at Weather Insight LP are predicting seasonably cold winter temperatures in the Midwest and Northeast for the next few weeks and the possibility of another arctic cold snap by mid- to late January.

Though recent cold air has retreated back into Canada, "we see an active (non-La Nina), Pacific pattern and extensive snow cover throughout Canada and the northern third of the U.S. that will serve to maintain below-average temperatures for much of the U.S. through year-end," said Weather Insight Chief Meteorologist Dave Melita. "We believe the establishment of this Canadian and northern U.S. snowpack early in the season will influence U.S. temperatures throughout the rest of the winter as it represents a nearby source of very cold air that intensifies cold Canadian surface highs that can easily drop southward into the U.S."

Weather Insight's self-described "contrarian" forecast follows predictions of warmer-than-normal winter weather for portions of the country from several other sources.

WxRisk forecasters last month said the winter months would be mild but active, with above-normal temperatures across the deep South, Mid Atlantic and New England regions (see NGI, Nov. 26). The on-line service, which specializes in extended weather forecasting and risk management, said New England will see temperatures somewhat above normal with some significant cold spells, while the I-95 corridor stretching from New York south to Richmond will experience several bouts of above- and much-above-normal temperatures. WxRisk predicted abnormally warm and dry conditions will continue across the South, while the Midwest and Central Plains, from Oklahoma to Nebraska, will be a mixed bag. The West Coast, especially the Pacific Northwest, and most of the Rockies and Upper Plains are most likely to see below-normal temperatures and active winter weather this year, the WxRisk forecasters said.

Also in November, WSI Corp. predicted warmer-than-normal winter temperatures across much of the country, with colder-than-normal temperatures in place from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes. Andover, MA-based WSI said temperatures would average colder than normal in the eastern United States in December, with a warmer-than-average February to end the winter.

MDA EarthSat Energy Weather has predicted that temperatures during December, January and February will be warmer than normal across the country's southern tier, from Texas to the Southeast, with seasonal to below-normal temperatures across the northern tier, including the Pacific Northwest, Chicago and the Northeast (see NGI, Nov. 5). Rockville, MD-based MDA EarthSat said the winter will be 4% colder than last year and the coldest the United States has experienced in four years, but it will still be 1% warmer than the 30-year (1971-2000) normal. According to MDA EarthSat, a colder December, warmer January and a mixed February are likely this year.

An extended winter weather forecast issued in October by Chief Long-Range Forecaster Joe Bastardi and his AccuWeather.com team called for a cooler-than-normal beginning and end to the winter, wrapped around three months of higher temperatures that could make it a warmer season than last year and one of the 10 warmest winters ever for the southeastern United States (see NGI, Oct. 29). Bastardi's winter forecast was generally in agreement with recent predictions from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and others calling for a relatively warm winter (see NGI, Oct. 22).

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