Warm winter forecast

As we reported, Accu-Weather has weighed in with a call for a snowier-than-normal winter, now comes a second opinion.

WSI Corp., a Massachusetts outfit that supplies forecasts for energy interests, sees a warm December and January in Philly and most of the East.

The would-be El Nino event, the above-normal warming of waters in the tropical Pacific,  isn't happening, says WSI meteorologist Todd Crawford.

Crawford thinks the defining feature will be Alaskan high pressure that will drive cold air into the Pacific Northwest. 

Meanwhile, the East, except for the Southeast, generally would benefit from a warmer southerly flow.

The wild car in all this again would be atmospheric patterns in the North Altantic. Historic North Atlantic blocking led to the heavy snows of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 winters.

Last year, that blocking was scarce, and Crawford suspects that conditions might be similar this winter.

Unfortunately for the people who make a living from long-range outlooks, those North Atlantic patterns aren't predictable beyond several days.

And, of course, we don't have to caution attentive readers that seasonal forecasting remains a primitive art, relative to the short-term forecasting.