Here’s my best shot at the outlook for the winter ahead. Keep in mind that generalities are necessary with outlooks such as this, as it is scientifically impossible to to be specific in these kind of time frames.
While we’ve already had many blasts of arctic or “near-arctic” air masses over the past several weeks, it seems the pattern will undergo a general shift into January. Less frequent intrusions of really cold air should carry us from mid-December through a good part of January. This does not rule out occasional shots of cold temperatures, but when they occur they are expected to be less intense and of shorter duration.
Along with this, favored storm tracks will tend to be to our west, indicating less snow potential. We could also continue to see clipper systems diving out of the upper Midwest, but those types of storms are usually of little signifcance for us. Again, this is the expectation into January.
From late January through February we could be looking at a return of the type of cold patterns we’ve experienced this November and early December. The difference would be that a more significant pool of very cold air will have been building over the northern reaches of our hemisphere. This implies that outbreaks of cold air could be intense. If the jet stream pattern “blocks” (or gets locked in for a period of time), and the subsequent storm track shifts southward a bit, then it would be possible for one or more true Nor’easters to develop. Snowfall for the winter will hinge largely on this potential…. i.e. no Nor’easters, little snow overall, and vice versa.
Assuming we do get at least one decent coastal storm, with sufficient cold air, then winter snowfall would easily be in the 8″ plus range, although even that would fall short of seasonal norms (which we haven’t seen in years).
I’ll be updating this outlook occasionally , so stay tuned.
Posted by Jim Duncan