With a little more than three weeks to Labor Day, long-range weather forecasters have their eyes on fall -- and even winter.

September, the start of meteorological fall, is likely to be warmer than average in the Northeast overall, with precipitation below the norm, said Bob Smerbeck, senior meteorologist with AccuWeather. Temperatures for October and November are looking to be, respectively, slightly above and below average, he said, with Long Island's monthly norms being 65.6 for September, with the following months' 54.3 and 45.1 degrees. Dry conditions for fall, overall, are also likely.

That warming stretch appears to be getting a head start, with the Island into the middle of next week looking at warmer than normal temperatures in the mid- to upper 80s, with humidity creeping up by Sunday and Monday, said Carlie Buccola, National Weather Service meteorologist in Upton.

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There's also a 60 percent probability from Aug. 19 to 23 for regionwide temperatures above the norm, rather than at or below, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center. Average highs on the Island trend from 81 down to 80 degrees for the last two weeks of the month, Buccola said.

The possible below-average rainfall for September could continue to maintain the area's dry conditions, with Long Island remaining in moderate drought since the third week of May.

That, however, has potential to turn around for winter, December to February, with a preliminary AccuWeather preview leaning toward above-normal precipitation for the Northeast, Smerbeck said.

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Also indicating favorable conditions for above-normal East Coast precipitation is the Climate Prediction Center, said Mike Halpert, the center's deputy director, on an El Niño update call Thursday. However, "just because something is favorable doesn't guarantee it would happen," he said.

El Niño is a climate pattern that affects weather worldwide and is characterized by unusually warm temperatures in the waters in the tropical Pacific, according to NOAA. This year's El Niño is expected to be strong and last through winter.

When it comes to winter temperatures for the Northeast, the prediction center, at this stage, is "not tilting the odds" toward above, below or right at normal, Halpert said.

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Other climate factors can come into play beyond El Niño, he said, even a strong one.

Indeed, "the relationship between El Niño and the Northeast's weather patterns isn't as strong" as that with other regions during winter months, said Samantha Borisoff, climatologist with the Northeast Regional Climate Center, based at Cornell University. And other factors influencing the area's temperature and the amount of snow "are difficult to predict more than a few weeks in advance."