It looks like a warmer than normal winter is in store for central New York if we can get past a chilly Christmas. But it also looks like we'll see snow and a lot of it.

Winter could begin cold in parts of the central and eastern states but then transition to a milder finish, according to an outlook from The Weather Channel.

Above average temperatures are expected in the East, but each month of this winter, December through February, could have temperature fluctuations that differ from this overall trend.

Photo Credit - The Weather Channel

La Niña conditions is one of the drivers in this winter forecast. La Niña is the cooling of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that can affect weather patterns in the United States and other parts of the globe.

"The typical La Niña response is for warm November, cold December, and warm January/February; however, January and February can have significant volatility depending on if high-latitude blocking occurs," said Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist at The Weather Company.

December

The greatest chance for any widespread colder than average temperatures this winter is in December.

Photo Credit - The Weather Channel

January

Typically the coldest month of the year could be quite mild for a large part of the eastern two-thirds of the nation.

"While three of the four warmest Januaries in the last 20 years were associated with La Niña, there were also two exceptionally cold years with significant blocking in 2009 and 2011," Crawford said.

Photo Credit - The Weather Channel

February

Mild conditions look to continue in February in much of the southern and eastern states.

"February has less variability, and is skewed towards the warmer side, with notable warm events during the last three La Niña winters and no exceptionally cold months," said Crawford.

Photo Credit - The Weather Channel

Wetter-than-average conditions are most likely across the northern tier of the U.S., including the Great Lakes region.

So although winter may be milder than average, we'll still need the snow blower in central New York. The question is how many times we'll need to actually use it. If you believe the Farmer's Almanac, we may need it a lot in February when a blizzard is predicted to bring up to 2 feet of snow the first week of the month. But they also predicted a colder than normal winter too.

Only time will tell.