A Winter Preview

It’s only late October, but winter truly is just a short few weeks away. Hard to believe.

The much advertised “La Nina”, a reversal of Southern Pacific ocean temps from the warm El Nino that prevailed last fall and winter, will certainly play some role in our winter patterns…but there are many other, yet to be seen factors that will come into play too. 

Making predictions this far out can be problematic, with just a modest degree of skill.  However, an outlook is just that, a prediction of general weather trends, not specific forecast details.

My outlook for this winter is pegged to jet stream patterns that will probably keep primary storm tracks farther north than last winter, and subsequent cold air outbreaks less severe.

That would put us in the “middle” more often than last year.  Let me explain.  Cold air will certainly make appearances. It always does. Unlike last year, however, I think many storms may end up tracking to our west, then north, versus the frequent southern storms (big snows) we experienced last winter.

Even with moderately cold air intrusions, this would set the stage for more mixed-precip “events”, i.e. better chances for icy mixes versus snow.  This would actually fall into the category of a fairly typical Richmond winter. 

Snow-lovers were spoiled by last winter’s big blasts.  Not saying we won’t squeek out some decent snow this go around, but we’ll be hard-pressed to come anywhere near what we saw last year.  I’ll post more here in a couple of weeks.

An additional note… NOAA issued their winter outlook today, generally calling for a warm, dry Southeast, and tttc (too tough to call) Northeast, putting us somewhere in the middle.  You can see their outlook here:  http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20101021_winteroutlook.html

Jim Duncan

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One Response to A Winter Preview

  1. hamlinfan11 says:

    I still hope we get one good decent snow. I don’t want a winter like 07 and 08 when we barely saw anything. But just because we will have a La Nina winter doesn’t mean we won’t see a lot of snow. Take the winter of 95-96 for example, which was a La Nina year. In January of 1996, we had over a foot of snow in Richmond, and in some places in higher elevations there was almost 4 feet of snow! Every square mile of VA was covered in snow, even in Hampton Roads. So snow lovers, don’t lose hope on this winter, as Mother Nature can bring a few surprises against the odds.

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