By Lauren Casey

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its winter outlook for the 2020-2021 season, and it’s looking balmy for the Delaware Valley. With a La Nina climate pattern in place, warmer than normal temperatures are likely this winter across the eastern half of the U.S.

La Nina is the cool phase, or opposite of El Nino, and is characterized by cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator.

La Ninas and El Ninos influence weather patterns well beyond the Pacific and help to drive winter weather trends across the U.S.

Wetter than normal conditions are expected in portions of the Northwest and Midwest, whereas drier than normal conditions are forecast for the South and Southwest.

Predictions for wintertime precipitation in our region are a bit up in the air with equal chances for above, below, or near-normal precipitation.

For cold and snow lovers, all is not lost as La Nina features a more variable or essentially wavier polar jet stream, which means cold spells and Nor’easters are definitely still on the table.

And remember, the influence of La Nina on winter weather is a matter of probability, not certainty, and each La Nina season is different.

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