Mild winter coming?

The equinox is three days away, and we're about to get a full-frontal taste of May, but the Climate Prediction Center already is taking a peek at next winter.

The government issued its spring forecast today, and says it can't say whether it's going to be cooler, warmer or wetter and drier than normal.

However, it is saying that the odds favor a mild winter in the Northeast, based on long-term trends. Here's the outlook.

Accu-Weather released its spring outlook earlier in the month, saying March and April would end up 5 degrees or more cooler in Philadelphia than the same months last year, which is another way of saying they be more normal.

Recall that the disappearance of snows last year was followed by one of the warmest Marches on record, followed by the warmest first week of April.

That will not be happening this year, said Paul Pastelok, now the chief long-range forecaster at Accu-Weather, the private service in State College. He's looking for a more roller-coaster coupe of months.

By the way, if it seems strange to see the terms “long range” and “Accu-Weather” without a mention of Joe Bastardi, it seems strange to Pastelok, too.

In case you missed it, after 32 years, Bastardi left the service abruptly last month. An Accu-Weather press release announced that Pastelok and forecaster Henry Margusity would be assuming his duties but did not discuss the cause of Bastardi’s sudden separation.

 “It was a shock to me,” said Pastelok, a comment similar to Margusity’s.