CPCWinterPrecipThe official start of winter is December 1st in the meteorological community. On October 15, six weeks ahead of time NOAA and The National Weather Service gave their insight into the season. That along with a video outlook form the Climate Prediction Center is below. There is a lot of anticipation based on the robust El Nino in the Pacific that already looks stronger than the record setting 1997 event. I want to point out that El Nino is not the only factor in our winter weather, but it plays a big role. Items I will be exploring (and sharing) include patterns such as Siberian fall snowfall, North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that works with El Nino. There are forces to provide a lot of moisture from the west, but other forces that lean towards cold outbreaks from the north.

With respect to the Mid Atlantic US, we have just had two above normal snowfall seasons in a row. Are we in a new phase of harsh winters becoming the norm? Please keep in mind that active weather could mean frequent storms, but that does not mean we get hit with each one. In fact many are likely to pass off of the coast, and there could be atmospheric memory similarly to the combo of Hurricane Joaquin and the stalled southeast upper level Low in early October.


“A strong El Niño is in place and should exert a strong influence over our weather this winter,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “While temperature and precipitation impacts associated with El Niño are favored, El Niño is not the only player. Cold-air outbreaks and snow storms will likely occur at times this winter. However, the frequency, number and intensity of these events cannot be predicted on a seasonal timescale.”


NOAA’s Outlook


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  • Wetter-than-average conditions most likely in the Southern Tier of the United States, from central and southern California, across Texas, to Florida, and up the East Coast to southern New England. Above-average precipitation is also favored in southeastern Alaska.

Drier-than-average conditions most likely for Hawaii, central and western Alaska, parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies, and for areas near the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

*Note: Southern California benefits from this pattern, but northern California is where the water supply needs to be replenished.

The quick version of NOAA’s: Wetter and warmer than normal in the Mid Atlantic. Just based off of their call, this does not elaborate on the storms themselves. So it can not be inferred if those storms would be warm and wet, followed by cold, or tap the cold at the right time to maximized the snow.


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Above-average temperatures are favored across much of the West and the northern half of the contiguous United States. Temperatures are also favored to be above-average in Alaska and much of Hawaii. Below-average temperatures are most likely in the southern Plains and Southeast.

Climate Prediction Center Video



Related Articles

El Nino 2015 Is Too Big To Fail

El Nino 2015 Compared to 1997 By NOAA: Strongest On Record?


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