October – December temperature forecast
- Conditions will likely be warmer than average in large parts of the country.
- The Midwest and Northeast may avoid a harsh start to winter.
- The weather could be relatively cooler in the West, including California.
Temperatures will be warmer than average across much of the Lower 48 in the final quarter of the year, according to the latest forecasts from The Weather Company, IBM Business, and Atmopheric G2.
The Big Picture: Overall, temperatures in October, November and December this year are not expected to drop as quickly as expected. The northern level is likely to be warmer than average, especially in the Great Lakes region. If you’re looking for winter flavors, head to California where temperatures can be a little cooler than average.
(Maps: Track fall foliage)
Driving factors. The biggest driver of the forecast through the end of the year is El Niño. Water temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean are expected to be well above average next year.
El Niño typically brings warmer temperatures compared to average across the northern tier of the United States, but brings cooler and wetter conditions across the southern tier, especially during the winter months.
Although the oceanic conditions associated with El Niño had been present for some time, the atmospheric response was not strong until mid-September.
The tropics can always exert cooling effects wherever they land and then move inland during the October and November time frames.
In addition, at the end of the year, the strength of the polar vortex may confirm its impact on the forecast. In general, the weaker the polar vortex, the greater the risk of cold snaps, especially later in the year.
However, this is a fairly low-confidence forecast given the uncertainty about how the atmosphere will respond to an ongoing El Niño.
With what we know now, here’s a look at the forecast month by month:
October: The central United States will still be warmer. The area most likely to be warmer than average is the upper Midwest while most of the West will be near average. Unfortunately for Texas and most of the Southern Plains, the warmth that persisted through the summer will likely persist into the colder months.
November: Warmer than average east of the Rockies. October’s warmth may extend to the East Coast in November. Well above average temperatures will also extend eastward into the Great Lakes region.
The West will remain near average as will much of Florida.
(Noah: 95% chance that 2023 will be among the warmest years on record on Earth)
December: A Missing Start to Winter from the Midwest to the Northeast? Temperatures are expected to be well above average from the Northeast to the upper Midwest. Temperatures may drop to near average across the Gulf Coast and into Texas and the Four Corners.
Temperatures may be warm compared to average in the Northwest, but cool compared to average in the Desert Southwest and in California.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment, and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.