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Forecasters say New England could see warmer-than-average winter

A warm day in February 2017 at the Lagoon in Boston's Public Garden. Forecasters say it's possible this coming winter will be warmer than average.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The coming winter may be marked by above-average temperatures in New England, The National Weather Service says.

The area where above-average temperatures are more likely, according to the latest winter forecast, includes much of the East and the Southern tier of the United States, with the greatest likelihood in the Southeast, according to the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service.

The winter forecast, which covers December through February, was issued Thursday. It found a 40 to 50 percent chance of above-average temperatures in our region.

It was the warmest summer ever in Boston, followed by the second-hottest September. October has also been warm so far.

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Sections of the country that are expected to be colder than average: the Pacific Northwest eastward to the northern Plains, and southern Alaska.

Precipitation-wise, the prediction center had little to say about New England. The forecast said there was an equal chance of seeing above-average, near-average, and below-average precipitation in the region.

The forecast said the greatest chances for wetter-than-average conditions were in the Pacific Northwest, northern Rockies, Great Lakes and parts of the Ohio Valley and western Alaska.

Drier-than-average conditions are more likely in south-central Alaska, southern California, the Southwest, and the Southeast.

As the U.S. enters a second La Nina year in a row, these weather conditions across the country are typical, said Jon Gottschalck of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

La Nina, the flip side of El Nino, is the periodic cooling of parts of the Pacific, affecting weather patterns worldwide.

A dry winter down south means worsening drought across Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Southern California and other Western states.

“The Southwest will certainly remain a region of concern as we anticipate below-normal precipitation where drought conditions continue in most areas,” Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch of the Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

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However, the Pacific Northwest “really stands out” for having the best chance to improve drought conditions, said Brad Pugh, a meteorologist with the Climate Prediction Center.

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Martin Finucane of the Globe staff contributed to this report.


Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.