There has been no real change in the sea-surface temperatures across the Equatorial Pacific Ocean during the past month, and, therefore, the current neutral ENSO phase is persisting and is forecast to continue to do so through at least the spring.
Looking back at past years that have featured very cold winters with neutral ENSO phases across the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast (1977-78, 1978-79, 1981-82 and 1983-84) reveals that the colder than normal temperatures often continued right through March and April.
Most climate indices also suggest that at least slightly below normal temperatures seem likely across the Midwest, Great Lakes and parts of the Northeast during April. As a result, these regions also are projected to see a surplus of late-season heating degree-day totals by between 30 and 90.
Unfortunately, heating costs also will remain higher than average in these areas. On the flip side, slightly warmer than normal temperatures are forecast throughout the Desert Southwest, Great Basin, much of California and possibly South Florida. Late-season heating degree-day totals will be lower than average by between 30 and 60 across the Great Basin while the Desert Southwest and South Florida will see slightly more early-season cooling degree-days.