By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s the question on everyone’s mind this time of year – what will our winter be like?

The National Weather Service (NOAA) issued their winter outlook for the United States Thursday and it is likely to be more of the same here in New England.

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(Image credit: NOAA)

One of the biggest factors this winter will be the emergence of La Nina, a cooling of the waters in the Pacific Ocean off of South America.

Right now we are in a La Nina “watch” with experts saying there is a 55-to-65 percent chance of La Nina developing before winter. While La Nina is likely to be weak and short-lived, it does still have significant impacts on the weather here in the U.S.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports

According to Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, “Typical La Nina patterns during winter include above average precipitation and colder than average temperatures along the Northern Tier of the U.S. and below normal precipitation and drier conditions across the South.”

So does that mean a cold and snowy winter for us here in the Northeast?

Likely not.

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While a good portion of the northern tier of the U.S. is forecast to be colder and snowier than normal (from the Pacific Northwest to parts of the Upper Midwest), warmer than normal conditions are favored along the East Coast and Northeast.

(Image credit: NOAA)

As far as precipitation goes, just today, portions of New England were back in the “moderate drought” category after a very dry October thus far.

(WBZ-TV graphic)

According to NOAA, that drought is not likely to worsen, and in fact, we may see it eradicated once again over the winter. Officially, NOAA lists New England as having equal chances of above and below normal precipitation, but typically La Nina’s bring wetter than normal conditions across the northern tier.

NOAA will update their forecast in the coming weeks as La Nina conditions develop.

The WBZ-TV Weather Team will have their winter forecast – focused on New England – during the month of November.

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Follow Terry on Twitter @TerryWBZ