While the Southern and Eastern regions of the United States will face harsh, colder-than-normal conditions from December through February, the North will enjoy extended autumnal conditions and warmer temperatures throughout the winter, thanks to what forecasters are calling a "Godzilla" El Niño event, according to the Weather Channel.
"If the current forecast is driven by the odds of a strong El Niño pattern, then it would suggest that parts of the nation will see a much different winter than they have seen in the past two years," meteorologist Tom Niziol told the Weather Channel. "Most notably California, where a wetter forecast will be welcome news to most people."
While most of the snowfall will likely come in the first half of the season, AccuWeather reports it could be one of the warmest winters on record, with mostly dry conditions to be seen across the central U.S. Forecasters expect the majority of snow to hit before January, before a "dry period" causes the region to remain slightly warmer than normal, with average temperatures in some areas expected to be 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than normal.
Meanwhile, Time reports the Southern region of the U.S. will experience cooler temperatures than typically recorded during the winter months, and the East Coast will see heavy rainfall throughout the season. The rainfall will be extremely beneficial to certain parts of the West, including California, where a widespread drought has lasted for over four years.
However, experts say it will only leave a dent in the record drought. "California would need close to twice its normal rainfall to get out of drought, and that's unlikely," Climate Prediction Center deputy director Mike Halpert said in a statement issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Forecasters are also predicting the western portion of the U.S. will experience warmer temperatures than normal, although Halpert noted it may be too early to predict exact weather patterns and events for the full winter season just yet. "While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player," Halpert said in the NOAA statement. "Cold air outbreaks and snowstorms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale."