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Fox News Weather Center

Asia winter forecast: Smog to endanger lives in India, Pakistan; Rain to deliver drought relief from Indonesia to the Philippines

Fewer storms will travel across central Asia this winter compared to last, while drenching rain will further ease the drought in southeastern areas.

Weak La Niña conditions, combined with unusually warm waters over the eastern part of the Indian Ocean, will have significant impact on the weather in Asia this winter.

La Niña is the cooler-than-average sister to El Niño, which translates to the fluctuating ocean water temperatures over the tropical Pacific Ocean.

JUMP TO: Fewer storms to affect most of central, southern Asia| Northeast monsoon to increase rain in Southeast Asia | Above-average warmth to grip central, southern Asia; Cold to put up a fight in Siberia | Tropical activity to throttle back but not disappear

Fewer storms to affect most of central, southern Asia

A weaker storm track than usual will translate to somewhat limited rain and snow from around the Caspian Sea to the Himalayas and southern Japan this winter.

However, there may still be a significant storm or two from eastern China to South Korea and southern Japan, especially during the middle of the winter.

"We expect close-to-average snowfall for Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo this winter," according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.

Beijing may receive between 2.5 and 7.5 cm (1 and 3 inches) of snow, while totals in Seoul could reach 10-15 cm (4-6 inches). In Tokyo, 7.5-15 cm (3-6 inches) will be possible. A light dusting is not out of the question in Shanghai.

"The weak storm track will offer little in the way of wind to stir up the atmosphere from Pakistan to central and northern India," Nicholls said.

While occasional smog is not uncommon in these areas during the winter, it may be especially persistent and worse than last year during this winter.

Cyclists ride amidst morning smog in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Areas farther west will mark the exception to this winter's lack of storms.

"After a dry start, we expect a few rounds of showers with mountain snow to extend from northern Saudi Arabia to Iraq, eastern Turkey and central and northern Iran," Nicholls said.

Northeast monsoon to increase rain in Southeast Asia

An annual winter phenomenon known as the northeast monsoon will dominate part of Southeast Asia and India.

This broad area of persistent northeasterly winds pushes dry air southwestward over the region. However, just south of this dry push, heavy rain can fall.

"While we expect some rain to drench southern India this winter, it should not be as excessive as last winter, unless there is a direct strike from a tropical cyclone," Nicholls said.

Early last winter, Chennai and surrounding areas in southern India were slammed with catastrophic flooding that took the lives of more than 300 people and nearly 4,000 head of cattle, according to The Hindu.

A bridge on the Adyar River is seen damaged in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K)

This year, the heaviest rain is likely farther to the east.

The northeast monsoon, La Niña and the warm waters of the eastern Indian Ocean will play a role in triggering heavy rainfall from Malaysia and the Philippines to New Guinea. The rainfall will ease drought conditions.

Over the past few years, much of Southeast Asia has been suffering in one of the worst droughts in decades.

Above-average warmth to grip central, southern Asia; Cold to put up a fight in Siberia

Above-average temperatures are likely to prevail from central China to the Arabian Peninsula and the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Mild conditions are also likely during much of the winter in central Russia and northeastern China.

Meanwhile, cold will persist much of the winter in far eastern Russia and central Siberia.

"Some episodes of colder-than-average weather may push southward into eastern Russia and northeastern China and eastern Mongolia during the latter part of the winter," Nicholls said.

Enough cold will be present during a few storms to cause significant snow over western Siberia and adjacent northern Kazakhstan and western Mongolia during the winter.

Tropical activity to throttle back but not disappear

The weather pattern during late summer and early autumn brought multiple typhoon strikes from Taiwan and China to South Korea and Japan.

As westerly winds increase in this area, typhoons will be turned away toward the ocean or suppressed to the south.

In this Thursday, July 7, 2016, file photo, large waves from Typhoon Nepartak crash against the breakwaters in Ilan County, eastern coast of Taiwan. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai, File)

While the number of typhoons is typically low in the winter, the typhoon season runs year round. In addition to the small islands in the western Pacific, the greatest chance of tropical storm or typhoon striking any land area is in the Philippines this winter.

"Unlike last year, there are unlikely to be any tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea, so Yemen and Oman will generally be dry this winter," Nicholls said.

However, tropical cyclones may impact areas around the Bay of Bengal.

"During December and into early January, there is a concern for a strike from a cyclone or two around the Bay of Bengal," Nicholls said.

The greatest risk of a strike from an Indian Ocean cyclone is in, but not limited to, southern India.