Last week we had an early taste of winter, and tonight I'd like to take a look at the official National Weather Service forecast for the three months ahead. As I explained in a previous Franklin Fact, these seasonal forecasts are really just probabilities that temperature or precipitation will be above average or below average.

Here's the temperature forecast for the winter: the region marked by red dashed lines in the South indicates a better-than-average chance of a relatively mild winter. As for the rest of the country, including us, the Weather Service doesn't have a lean toward mild or cold - in essence, you might as well flip a coin.

Here's the precipitation forecast: in this case, the area marked with green dashed lines stretching from Texas to New Jersey shows where the Weather Service is leaning toward a wetter-than-average winter, and we're in that zone. However, it's not a very strong lean - just a few percent - so all you snow-lovers don't get too excited just yet.

Overall, I still look for this coming winter to be colder and snowier than the last few - but that's not a real big stretch, considering how relatively mild and snow-free winters have been lately.

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