by Kate Evans
If you’re wondering what kind of winter weather we’re going to have, it’s really hard to say. Colder days and nighttime lows have been settling in on a regular basis now and that big four-letter word “snow” is lurking. Parts of Morgan County got a skiff of snow on Tuesday, November 28.
Meteorologists can’t seem to agree on the long-term forecast of whether it will be warmer or colder temperatures than average this winter or heavy or light precipitation.
El Niño will be a factor in this winter’s weather, say AccuWeather and NOAA meteorologists as well as the Farmer’s Almanac. It causes higher water temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean and changes the jet stream and weather patterns in many parts of the country. But meteorologists differ on what this may mean for this winter’s weather.
NOAA meteorologists on the other hand are calling for much warmer temperatures from December 2023 through February, 2024 for the northern tier of the United States, including our region. NOAA is calling for equal chances of below, near or above average precipitation in our region and wetter weather in the Southeast.
NOAA predicts wetter-than-average conditions as most likely in other areas including parts of California to the south-central Rockies, the southern Plains, Gulf Coast and the lower mid-Atlantic.
Drier-than-average conditions are forecast by NOAA for portions of the northern Rockies and central Great Lakes region. Most of the central United States including West Virginia, Maryland and most of Pennsylvania has equal chances for below, near or above average seasonal total precipitation.
AccuWeather is predicting a more active and intense winter than previous winters, especially in the northeast and central United States and also during the month of February. An El Niño winter could mean an active storm track with milder weather and less snow for our region but a wetter and more severe winter for the deep South.
The Farmer’s Almanac indicates that in conjunction with their forecast model an El Niño will mean that cold temperatures should prevail throughout the country and bring snow, sleet, and ice.
Their forecast calls for below-average temperatures and snowstorms, sleet, ice and rain for much of the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley and the Midwest, along with New England, especially in January and February.
Mid-February and early March could bring a couple of severe East Coast snowstorms, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
Last year Buffalo got two major lake-effect snows in early winter. One produced six feet of snow and the other was a pre-Christmas blizzard. However, the area isn’t expected to get as much snow this year. But AccuWeather predicts the areas around Interstate 95 from Washington to Boston will see more snow than last season. The Farmer’s Almanac projects more rain, sleet and snowstorms in areas along I-95 too.
Chicago was getting snow on Sunday morning, November 26 from a massive winter storm with snow and heavy rains that hit post-Thanksgiving. Western New York was expecting lake effect snow from the system. The mountains in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine could see up to two feet of snow in some areas as the storm moves into New England.
No matter whose forecast you buy, it would be prudent to keep your snow shovel handy. There were some snowflakes visible locally on Monday — a sign of things to come.