Cold turkey, hold the ice

The region is in for one more day of October-like temperatures, but then will start to feel the cold breath of the coming season, at least for a few days.

Big questions remain about just how strongly and how soon the winter of 2010-11 will come on, but the outlook for the next few days calls for a dispelling of the balm and weather more appropriately associated with stuffing than Easter eggs.

Temperatures are heading into the 60s again Tuesday, but on Wednesday they will have a hard time getting past 50, although it should be a decent travel day.

Sometime before Thanksgiving-dinner time, a chilly rain is due Thursday with temperatures in the 40s. The National Weather Service sees an outside chance if some sleet at the onset.

However, after the season's first offical below-freezing temperatures in Philadelphia on Saturday, it appears that a warm-up will follow early next week.

It appears that anything resembling truly wintry conditions would hold off until well into the first weekend in December, and then it's not clear how long it would last.

The government's Climate Prediction Center is calling for below-normal temperatures in its 8-to-14-day outlook. But in releasing its December outlook last month, it had Philadelphia right on the border of the zone in which odds favor above-normal temperatures.

As we've noted, the consensus among the seasonal forecasters is that December would be on the cold side with the  rest of the winter averaging above normal for warmth, and about normal for snow.

WSI Corp., a forecasting service in Massachusetts, just updated its outlook and is sticking with cold December, warmer January and February.