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Winter Forecast: Snow to Bury Rockies; Slow Onset in East

Though summerlike temps kicked off fall in some parts of the US, winter is quickly following

(AP Photo)

Though summerlike temperatures kicked off fall in some parts of the United States, winter - with its cold and snow - is quickly following. The season will get off to a slow start in the Northeast with only occasional shots of cold early on. The northern Plains and the Rockies, however, will be bitterly cold at times and buried in snow.

With the East as an exception, most ski resorts country-wide should not have a problem getting up-and-running this year. This season's precipitation may even bring drought relief to California, replenishing reservoirs and easing water shortages.

A breakdown of the AccuWeather.com 2013-2014 Winter Forecast can be found below.

East to Remain Mild Until Latter Half of Season

Winter weather lovers will have to be patient this year, as the start of the season in the East certainly won't pack a punch in terms of cold or snowfall. Winter will begin mildly, with a long duration of above-normal temperatures. One snow system and some chilly air could come at times during November, however.

Temperatures will fall in the latter part of the season, likely the beginning of January, allowing snow to fall along the I-95 corridor.

Philadelphia, which received only 8 inches of snow last year, will likely get higher amounts, but other areas from New York City to Boston should not expect to beat last year's totals. Overall, however, winter sports enthusiasts have a shot at an average season.

"It's not going to be a complete [snow] drought season coming up, but I think they'll have to wait until probably late in the season to get their best chances of the higher snow amounts," AccuWeather.com expert long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

Early in the season, the storm track will not favor coastal areas, but areas farther north, including Burlington, Vt., and areas north of Albany should have a strong chance at a white winter.

"The farther south you go, it is going to more likely be mid- to late season that you may have an opportunity to see some snow, which is typical," Pastelok said.

Southeast, Tennessee Valley, Gulf Coast to Rival Warmth Records

The winter season will begin with well above-normal temperatures for the Southeast, Tennessee Valley and Gulf Coast areas.

December could yield daily record-breaking warmth for the Tennessee Valley, where monthly temperatures departures could average as much as 4-6 degrees above normal.

AccuWeather.com Winter Weather Center
Forecast Temperature Maps
AccuWeather.com Severe Weather Center

With the warmth will come a severe weather threat for the central and western Gulf Coast. A few heavy rain events could lead to flooding in December and February, ultimately resulting in above-normal precipitation for the area.

From Paducah, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Little Rock, Ark., to Dallas could be impacted by some snow and ice events.

Northern Plains, Upper Midwest: Snowy With Blasts of Extreme Cold

Those living in the northern Plains and Upper Midwest should plan for plenty of days requiring snow boots and shovels, as several strong systems are expected to unleash above-normal snow totals.

Across the Ohio Valley, Midwest extending toward the central Plains, a wintery mix will accompany an active storm track.

Farther north, across parts of the northern Plains and Upper Midwest, snow will be favored over rain, resulting in higher snow totals in December into January.

Frequent arctic blasts will take aim at the Dakotas and Minnesota late in the season, leading to some extreme cold at times.

In late December and into January, the Midwest may be in an ideal position for a big storm. Conditions could align to bring Chicago a winter storm in time for the holidays.

Des Moines, Minneapolis, Omaha and just northwest of Kansas City can each expect above-normal snowfall this season.

Northwest, Rockies: Abundant Snow, Wild Temperature Contrasts

The highlight of the Northwest this year is frequent precipitation, in the form of rain and snow.

"A lot of it will be due to the change in water temperatures that is taking place over the northeastern Pacific; they're much warmer," Pastelok said.

This allows for an active jet stream farther south that will bring moisture in multiple-week periods throughout the winter season.

The area will also endure significant temperature contrasts. Coastal areas will average slightly above normal, while parts of Montana and Wyoming fall well below normal.

"February can be a wild month, temperature-wise. There is a chance for a strong, arctic surge of cold air, especially for the northern Rockies," Pastelok said.

Additionally, the Southwest could warm up and milder weather will spread north to western Oregon and Washington.

West: Reservoirs to Catch Up, Drought Relief on Horizon

From December through January, California will enter a period of heavy precipitation resulting in much-needed relief from the extreme drought.

For more than two years, parts of the state have endured moderate to extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

"I think this can definitely alleviate some drought issues. I think we're going to fill those reservoirs up a little bit," Pastelok said.

The season also brings hope to resorts across the state which have not received normal snowfall amounts in the past two seasons.

RELATED ON SKYE: 15 Photos of Monster Blizzards


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William Douglas Grav

For those of you who said there were no hurricanes this year I would like to correct you by saying Ingrid and Humberto did reach hurricane strength. Know you stuff before you talk, it may not be an exact science but I'd love to see you do a better job

October 17 2013 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's hope they're right about the heavy snow in the West. Bring it!

October 09 2013 at 10:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Weathermen cannot predict weather tomorrow much less this Winter! Remember their forecast for the hurricane season, 7-9 hurricanes and we got none. A very inexact science.

October 09 2013 at 6:06 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

The forecast for the east and the northeast sounds just like last year's forecast. And the year before......

October 09 2013 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

Is California the only state in the West?

October 09 2013 at 3:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

So the experts say ... "Temperatures will fall in the latter part of the season, likely the beginning of January, allowing snow to fall along the I-95 corridor."

The beginning of January is ... two weeks into winter. I guess after he runs out of fingers to count on the rest of the winter is the latter part of the season.

October 09 2013 at 2:24 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

Does anybody really listen to these preposterous long range forecasts??? As "experts" predict doom and gloom every year the realty can be summed up by the great Bob Dylan lyric...." You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows !!!

October 09 2013 at 12:34 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

Weatherman don't get the forecast right for the next day, but they are going to tell us the forecast for 2 or 3 months form now...Sorry for not being optimistic.

October 09 2013 at 12:32 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to franco.anastasia's comment

I'm thinking you must have been rebuffed by Al Roker and are bitter about it.

October 09 2013 at 3:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

O.K., is this the same group who forecasted the worst hurricane season in history this year. High number of named storms and severe storms hitting the U.S.. Season is almost over and not one hurricane yet. Don't think their forecast will hold much water, pun intended.

October 09 2013 at 12:17 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DARRYL's comment

I hope you are right BUT, as the old saying goes, "Don't count your chickens before they hatch". Who predicted the big storm, Sandy early on???

October 09 2013 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
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