Fall and Early Winter Likely to be Mild in the West and South, Cooler in the Northeast

Jonathan Belles
Published: September 12, 2019

Relatively mild temperatures are likely for much of the country through the end of the year, according to an outlook released Thursday by The Weather Company, an IBM Business, but cooler than average temperatures are possible in Northeast and Midwest.

October to December temperature forecast from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

The certainty in this forecast is lower than usual due to factors like the remnant El Niño and increasing water temperatures in the North Pacific, which would favor cooler weather, and climate models that continue to signal a warmer than average winter for much of the United States.

Here's a closer look at how the forecast evolves the next three months.

October

In October, temperatures are expected to be most above average across the southern tier of the country, while the center of the nation is expected to be near average.

As has been the theme in September so far, cooler than average temperatures are likely in the northern tier, especially in the upper Midwest. This might also come with an increasing frequency of low-pressure systems across these states.

October temperature forecast from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

The atmosphere continues to act like El Niño is in play over North America, which could possibly lead to a cooler start to the cool season in the Great Lakes and Northeast. The pattern with El Niño acting on the atmosphere tends to build a ridge of high pressure over the West Coast, which would bring warmer than average temperatures there.

The overall pattern may end up being similar to what we saw last year.

November

By November, this pattern is expected to be amplified, with well above average temperatures in the West and below average temperatures in the East anticipated.

Above average temperatures are forecast to become more expansive in the Southwest. California, Arizona, much of Nevada, southern Utah and western New Mexico could see temperatures farthest above average in November.

It remains somewhat uncertain how the atmospheric El Niño will evolve through late autumn, but the current forecast is for sustained cool weather in the East, and a warm West from the atmospheric El Niño.

November temperature forecast from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

December

As winter begins, climate models suggest warmer than average conditions across much of the country. The Southwest will remain much above average, while the Southeast may be near or slightly below average.

It remains possible that signals from atmospheric blocking could outweigh any impacts from atmospheric El Niño, which would result in considerably cooler temperatures across the eastern half of the country.

December temperature forecast from The Weather Company, an IBM Business.

In addition, an area of well above average ocean temperatures off the West Coast, known as the "blob," may also have an impact on temperatures across the country late this year.

"While the blob is but one factor this winter, the unusually warm waters in the northeastern Pacific do seem to correlate with colder winters" in the Midwest and Northeast, according to Dr. Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Company. The blob typically is more impactful later in the winter, but could have some impact in December.


The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.