You’ve heard about La Nina but that’s not the only factor affecting our winter this year. Lingering effects from El Nino and the worst drought since 2007/2008 may give us a slow start to the winter season.

MORE: What can we expect this winter?

While La Nina will certainly have an influence on our future forecast, there are two other large-scale climate oscillations that may have more of an impact on conditions across the eastern half of the country, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Artic Oscillation.

These two patterns are only predictable about two weeks in advance but if both go into a negative phase, the doors will open for arctic air intrusions into the eastern U.S.

To get heavy snow or any substantial precipitation during the winter season, systems will have to tap into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and overcome the extremely dry conditions across our region and areas to our south.

January and February are typically the coldest months for East Tennessee, so that’s when we will likely see the majority of our wintry weather.

The potential for this year’s La Nina to be weak and short-lived will mean that natural variability will come into play throughout the winter season.