TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An earlier-than-usual cold front sent temperatures plummeting all around the Tampa Bay area this week, and left a lot of people wondering if it was a sign of what’s to come in the winter months.

If you live in Tampa Bay and are not a fan of cold weather, there are two bits of good news for you. The first is, there’s no relation between cold weather now and cold weather in the winter. The second bit of good news is what was revealed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday.

Every year, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center releases a winter outlook for the United States. This year, for the third year in a row, NOAA is predicting a La Niña weather pattern this winter. That usually means we see a warmer and drier winter in Tampa Bay.

“The cooler water in the tropical Pacific Ocean means a weaker subtropical Jetstream flowing from the Pacific across the Southern U.S.,” WFLA Chief Meteorologist and Climate Specialist Jeff Berardelli said. “Typically that means less moisture and thus less rain. It also means more sun and warmer temperatures.”

According to NOAA’s outlook, warmer-than-average temperatures are “favored” in the southeast, including here in Florida.

We’re also expecting less precipitation than normal, according to the outlook. NOAA considers the Gulf Coast and the southeast among the areas with the greatest chances to see drier-than-average conditions.

“No two La Niñas are the same, and this could differ, but most of the time the Bay area experiences warmer and drier than normal winters,” Berardelli said.

Berardelli explained that the outlook doesn’t mean we won’t see any cold weather this winter in Tampa Bay.

“This does not mean we’re not going to see cold shots. We will see cold shots like we have right now,” he said. “It also doesn’t mean we’re not going to see a cold front or two with some showers and thunderstorms.”

Berardelli said the outlook just means, in general, our winter is expected to be drier and warmer than usual.