It's interesting to compare the winter-to-date mean temperatures this year with those in 2002, which saw by far the warmest early winter on record. The two charts below show the comparison; 2002 was considerably warmer even than this year, with many days seeing temperatures more than 1 standard deviation above normal. The common factor between the two years? An extremely positive phase of the PDO.
How did the rest of the winter turn out in 2002-2003? Except for some brief cold weather around the turn of the year, it continued warmer than normal for most of January and February; early February was particularly warm.
Regular readers should note that I'm on the road and posts will be brief and limited until next week.