Heading into December, CT winter expected to be warmer than normal

Photo of Abby Weiss
A woman walks through the rain in Greenwich, Conn. Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. 

A woman walks through the rain in Greenwich, Conn. Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. 

Tyler Sizemore/Hearst Connecticut Media

In October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a warmer than average winter for Connecticut. Heading into December, the forecast still stands, Mark Dixon, chief meteorologist at WFSB Channel 3, said. 

"Speaking specifically to December, temperatures could be near or a little bit above average is the general idea," he said.

The weather pattern La Niña is expected to last through the winter for the third consecutive year and is set to bring warmer temperatures to the Atlantic region. Connecticut has a 33 to 40 percent chance of experiencing warmer than usual temperatures, according to the NOAA

"The last two winter seasons have been fairly lackluster. So if this holds, then, it could be kind of similar to the last couple of winters," Dixon said.

The NOAA also forecasts "equal chances for below-, near-, or above-average seasonal total precipitation."

The above-normal precipitation levels would help the state's recovery from the summer drought. As of Wednesday, nearly half the state remains abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor

The NOAA predicts that drought conditions on the western border of Connecticut will end this winter. 

Dixon said that as winters in Connecticut trend milder and warmer, the idea of what is considered normal temperatures is shifting. Since 1950, the average annual air temperature has increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit with winters on average  becoming warmer and rainier, according to the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

But just because winters are getting milder, does not mean the state won't have its share of cold days.

"While the winter very likely could end up being warmer than normal, that's taking into account three months worth of data," he said. "We could still have some very, very cold weather in those periods."

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for northern Connecticut on Wednesday, predicting a cold front will bring 40 to 50 mph winds into Thursday. 

As for precipitation, the number of storms may not be as high but the amount of snow could be more substantial than normal, Dixon said. 

"It's winter in Connecticut, so be prepared for anything,"  he said.