Winter forecasts offer a glimmer into the possibilities of a wild (or mild) season, but what does the 2014-2015 winter hold? See what forecasters – ranging from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to The Weather Channel – are expecting from Old Man Winter this year:

NOAA

Winter outlook: Hola El Niño, adios Polar Vortex

“While drought may improve in some portions of the U.S. this winter, California's record-setting drought will likely persist or intensify in large parts of the state. Nearly 60 percent of California is suffering from exceptional drought – the worst category – with 2013 being the driest year on record.”

 

The Old Farmer’s Almanac

Winter outlook: Hola El Niño, adios Polar Vortex

“Winter is expected to be another cold one in the eastern half to two-thirds of the nation with above-normal temperatures, on average, in the West.”

 

Farmers’ Almanac

Winter outlook: Hola El Niño, adios Polar Vortex

“El Niños are usually strongest from December to April, but there’s no guarantee that we will see one this winter. We’ll just have to wait and see, but in the meantime, all of us at the Farmers’ Almanac suggest you stock up on firewood, sweaters, and hot cocoa. It certainly looks like another long winter of shivery and shovelry is on tap.”

 

The Weather Channel

Winter outlook: Hola El Niño, adios Polar Vortex

“Compared to 2013-14, which was one of the coldest winters in recent memory in the Upper Midwest, this winter the chill looks to be more focused on the East Coast and Gulf Coast, according to the winter forecast prepared by WSI, which along with The Weather Channel is part of The Weather Company.”

 

Accuweather

Winter outlook: Hola El Niño, adios Polar Vortex

“The winter season has several cold months planned for the Midwest, though not quite as extreme as last year.”

There’s one thing many forecasters agree on: California’s drought isn’t going anywhere.

“Given the magnitude of drought, even in the best case, there’s going to be serious drought in most parts of the state when the winter is over,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

According to the latest Drought Monitor report, 82 percent of California is in extreme or worse drought, affecting roughly 86 percent of the state's cattle herds and 80 percent of hay production.