Winter prospects

Temperatures are expected to tumble into the upper 30s by Friday morning in the region, and October looks to break a streak of six consecutive months of above-normal warmth.

But early indications are that the winter on our doorstep will be much lighter on fuel bills, disruption and history than the winter of 2009-10.

Tomorrow, the government will release its annual winter outlook, and Accu-Weather will update its forecast.

Joe Bastardi, the Accu-Weather long-range forecaster, already is on record as saying he expects temperatures to be be tad above normal, with snowfall about average in Philadelphia.

The government's Climate Prediction Center issues more general outlooks, and we expect it be say that the odds are tilted toward a mild winter here and elsewhere in the East.

The outlooks will bank heavily on the persistence of a strong La Nina cooling event in the equatorial Pacific. Last winter those waters were extraordinarily warm; right now, they are extraordinarily chilly.

Intuitively, a winter reveral of fortune makes sense. That said, everyone who ventures into the long-range prediction business knows that it is one of the most-tenuous limbs in meteorology.

Last fall, no one was calling for record snow in Philadelphia. And whatever happened to that monster hurricane season? ...