Sea-surface temperatures across much of the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean continue to run slightly cooler than average. This indicates that the La Nina phase is persisting. The latest long-range climate models suggest that the La Nina will continue through the winter season and that there is about a 50% chance that this La Nina will persist into the spring. As for the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation), it became positive during the middle of November. However, some forecast models are indicating that it will become negative again later in November into early December. This trend will have to be monitored.
As for the January temperature outlook, slightly above normal temperatures are projected across portions of the Deep South, Southeast, and Gulf Coast. Monthly heating degree day totals are expected to be lower by between 30 and 90. Energy costs with respect to heating could be a little less than average throughout these regions of the country. In contrast, parts of the northern Plains and northern Rockies are predicted to see temperatures that average slightly below normal in January. A surplus of monthly heating degree days and higher energy costs with respect to heating are likely across these areas of the country. Temperatures are expected to average closer to normal across the Northeast, Midwest, Desert Southwest, and much of the West Coast in January.