Well friends, it’s that time of the year again where I take a stab in the dark at what the next 90 day period will be like. Seems kinda… silly, right? At the end of the day, it’s a guess. An educated guess, but still a guess.
What’s the point of doing it then? I’ve been doing this for 13 years. That’s a long time! It’s tradition. It’s fun. It’s informative. Why not at least try? Mother Nature throws us some curve balls at times and that’s what makes it interesting.
Before I dive into more of the meat and potatoes, I am cognizant of the fact that there are a lot of you who don’t have the time to read through paragraphs of info…so I’ve got a short, condensed version:
SOCCER MOM W/5 KIDS SUMMARY:
- Limited data on third-year, “triple dip” La Nina
- Front loaded Winter likely meaning a harsh round of cold, maybe some snow chances before Janury 1st.
- Above normal temps…I think overall 1-2° above normal for the entire season
- January will likely be a torch with limited cold.
- Below normal snowfall
- 1-3 Nor’easters likely
THE OVERALL PATTERN
This is only the third time over the past 50 years we’ve seen a La Nina last for 3 years in a row. La Nina just means cooler than normal water along the equatorial Pacific.
Both La Nina Winters, two COMPLETELY different outcomes… so what we see this year is totally up to chance – like the flip of a coin.
Typically speaking, this is the type of pattern I’m expecting to set up across North America OVERALL. Of course there will be times where this doesn’t line up, but if you were to take an average from Dec. 1st to Feb. 28th, you’ll probably see this type of look winning out more often than not.
The Pacific Northwest will see a good amount of storminess. Lots of storms crashing ashore. The coldest air is likely across the Northern Plains, Southern Canada and into the Great Lakes. We probably see several quick, transient shots of cold air. Warm and dry across the deep south.
Temps in our viewing area likely range from 1-2° above normal. Over the past 20 years the majority of our Winters have been above normal, so I have no reason to really buck the new established norm so to say.
So going in line with that idea, the greatest departure from average for snowfall will be where temps are expected to be their coldest. Most other places? Around normal. Either right to that normal line or just under. I can’t sugarcoat it. I know there were several predictions back over the Summer that said we’d have one of the snowiest Winters ever. I don’t subscribe to that thinking.
NO TWO STORMS ARE CREATED EQUAL
There are different tracks for storms which means we can get snow several ways. Clipper systems are very typical…they originate in Canada, dip down into the lower 48 and generally drop 1-4″ over a large swath of real estate. These are nuisance events. I think 2-3 of these are possible.
Track # 2 is the type of storm, Miller B, I absolutely hate. The WORST to forecast. So many complexities. They can start off as clippers but then transfer their energy to another storm off-shore. That storm takes over as the main area of low pressure. They are difficult because if we mis where that transfer of energy is going to be, the whole forecast can be blown.
I think we probably see one Miller A and B this season. Time will tell.
WHAT CAN GO WRONG?
The southeast ridge. That’s always the wildcard. High pressure sets up off-shore and pumps the jet stream into Canada. This overwhelms the east coast with mild air and pushes the storm track WELL to our west. When that happens we end up with rain and no snow. Will it make an appearance this year? At some points, I think so. But for how long? That will be determined.
A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER:
- The Volcanic Eruption in Tonga threw all kinds of soot, ash and WATER VAPOR into the atmosphere…record levels. Will THAT impact things downstream?
- Sunspot activity is peaking for the first time in awhile. The last time we saw solar maximum, we had some BIG snow, in the early 2010s.
- La Nina looks like it could weaken by mid-Winter. This could send things into a tailspin later in the season.
- Most folks get hyper-focused on snowfall totals…the bigger concern is what happens at the shore. Tidal flooding is so much more impactful than snow. Keep that in mind. A storm forming at just the right time with the right moon phase can spell big issues.
Whatever Mother Nature throws our way, I’ll be here every step of the way to ensure you’re prepared no matter what. That’s my promise to you! Feel free to follow along on social media by “liking” me @NorEasterNick
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