TIME weather

This Is What the Weather Will Look Like This Winter

Man checking phone while in the snow
Jose Luis Pelaez—Getty Images Experts say they aren't sure about what weather will look like this winter.

We can't predict much, but here's what we know

If you’re wondering whether you’ll see a white Christmas this year, you might have to keep wondering.

It might be more difficult to predict weather patterns this winter than it was last year, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Tom Niziol. That’s in part due to the fact that we’re in the midst of an indefinite La Nina, a cooling period in the Pacific Ocean that affects weather patterns around the world.

Combined factors like climate change and the residual El Nino effect from last winter, you might need a crystal ball to guess the forecast this year. “Like any science, the more we find out about something the more we realize we don’t know,” Niziol said in an email.

Still, there are a few predictions that the Weather Channel can make. The La Nina will likely cause the Northeast — which had its warmest winter on record last year — to experience colder temperatures this winter. Get ready to shovel some snow, particularly in cities like Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany, which are expected to see more snowfall than they did last year.

Northeast residents won’t be the only ones seeing more snow in the streets. Midwestern cities like Minneapolis, Green Bay and Milwaukee should also expect some major winter weather.

In the southwestern U.S., however, the forecast calls for a warmer and drier winter than normal — likely unwelcome news for the drought-stricken area.

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