That's the message from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center, which released its 2018-19 winter outlook report Thursday - coincidentally, on the day many Mainers woke up to their first dustings of snow for the season.
According to NOAA, in ME, the three-month average snowfall in Portland, across December, January and February, is 14.8 inches, in Bangor 16.1 inches, and in Caribou, 23.4 inches. States from the Pacific Northwest through the Northern Plains and into the Northeast are likely to have above-average temperatures, the NOAA reported.
Additionally, El Nino has a 70 to 75 percent chance of developing. The greatest chance for warmer than normal winter weather is in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, Montana, northern Wyoming and western North Dakota.
Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, parts of Idaho, Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Indiana and OH are forecast to be drier than normal, with the biggest likelihood in Hawaii, Montana and Michigan. In other words, if this pans out, weather like we've seen the past couple weeks (hopefully sans flooding) may be more frequent than most winters.
In the winter, the NOAA said, typical El Nino conditions include wetter-than-average precipitation in the southern USA and drier conditions in parts of the northern U.S.
Warmer-than-normal conditions are anticipated across much of the northern and western USA, with the greatest likelihood in Alaska and from the Pacific Northwest to the Northern Plains.
The only part of the country that can expect typical winter temperatures will likely be in the Southeast, spanning the states you see below that are colored white, from Florida to OH and as far west as Arkansas.
"We expect El Nino to be in place in late fall to early winter", said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, in a statement.
2018-19 Winter Outlook map for temperature.
-Wetter-than-average conditions are favored across the southern tier of the USA, and up into the Mid-Atlantic. The northern half stays drier while the southern half gets extra precipitation.
Meantime, drier-than-average conditions are expected for the Great Lakes and portions of the Northern Rockies and the Northern Plains.
NOAA's seasonal outlooks give the likelihood that temperatures and precipitation will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are expected to change, but the outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations. This is more of an overarching forecast of how the three winter months could average out. He also forecasted a warm winter, heavily based on weak snowfall in Siberia. This video below explains El Nino further and provides greater details about NOAA's winter outlook.