He also says what made last winter so memorable was not the cold outbreaks, although those were extreme at times, but the persistent pattern through the entire winter. Meaning once we got past the December/January time frame, there was no break down of the cold. The cold continued into the middle of March! And looking ahead to this winter there, at this time, appears to be no signals that suggest this type of persistent pattern taking hold once again.
While there are no strong signals as to whether temperatures over the three month winter period will swing above or below average, it does appear that there is a slightly higher probability of a drier than normal pattern across the Great Lakes.
Bottom line with this forecast is this, seasonal forecasts are a young and evolving science with many different tools, both new and old, forecasters use. While El Nino and La Nina events are something that can influence the weather across the U.S., we also have to look at other atmospheric circulations and phenomena that, at this time, are still evolving in trying to understand. Looking ahead, there will be cold and snow this winter - that's a given. But the probability of having the extreme cold like we did last year is unlikely.