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NOAA says a warmer-than-average winter is coming to the Northeast this year

A photo shown from ground level where water is rushing. A truck is splashing through a flooded road, with powerlines overhead.
Elodie Reed
Vermont Public File
A portion of River Road in Underhill experiences flooding in December 2022. Shortly after this flooding, temperatures dropped dramatically in a flash freeze.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting a warmer-than-average winter here in the Northeast.

Scientists say climate change as well as El No — which is a normal cycle of warming in the Pacific ocean — will lead to a warmer winter this year.

But Scott Whittier with the National Weather Service in Burlington says that doesn't mean we won't see snow and cold temperatures.

"Even though the long term trend is a warming climate, there is a lot of variability. Sometimes that variability is actually increased due to these warming trends," Whittier says.

For example, last year was the third warmest winter on record in Burlington. But heavy snow storms, flash freezes and flooding all caused power outages and other disruptions.

During one storm, Vermont's queen city experienced some of the coldest wind chills recorded in nearly 30 years.

So human caused climate change is making winters warmer here overall. But: you should also still put those snow tires on.

A warm October

Last month was Vermont's third hottest October on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

In Burlington, three of that city's hottest Octobers on record have happened in the last six years.

"2017 was the warmest, 2021 was the fourth warmest and then this year was the fifth warmest," Whittier says.

Globally, this was the hottest October since 1850. It's the fifth record-setting October in a row.

Human-caused climate change is making Vermont and the Northeast warm faster on average than the rest of the planet. Scientists agree that trend can be improved by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or contact reporter Abagael Giles:


Abagael is Vermont Public's climate and environment reporter, focusing on the energy transition and how the climate crisis is impacting Vermonters — and Vermont’s landscape.

Abagael joined Vermont Public in 2020. Previously, she was the assistant editor at Vermont Sports and Vermont Ski + Ride magazines. She covered dairy and agriculture for The Addison Independent and got her start covering land use, water and the Los Angeles Aqueduct for The Sheet: News, Views & Culture of the Eastern Sierra in Mammoth Lakes, Ca.

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