Winter Outlook UPDATE

Winter Forecast UPDATE

Happy Winter Everyone!

As we officially usher in the new season this evening, it is time for an update.


We certainly ended up with an active November with warmth/thunderstorms and the ice storm event. December hasn’t featured any major systems (yet) but overall has average pretty close to normal. The snow burst event near Nelson County was a highlight for snow-lovers there.

There have been 2 items we have been waiting on since the last update...

1) El Nino strength trends

2) Polar vortex placement signals

El Nino continues to develop in the Pacific Ocean. Latest forecast keeps it at a mostly a weak/low-end moderate level event. This means there will be *some* influence for our winter pattern but likely not an overwhelming driver.

If anything, this would help drive the sub-tropical jet more into our region which will keep us busy with the storm track.

The Polar Vortex is basically the coldest pocket of air in the northern hemisphere. And sometimes there is more than one. The placement of these features is hard to predict in advance but their impacts are significant. These lows can get “locked in” for 2-4 weeks in duration and can lead to brutal winters.

Since early December, the trends to develop at least 2 of PV’s is showing up as we move into January. Placement is still uncertain but signs of central/eastern Canada continue to grow.

The golden question here is how do the above two interact? Or do they at all?


Temperatures---I think we are still on track for a colder than normal OVERALL winter across the Ohio Valley and Southeast. This forecast has to account for the warm spells (and we will get some) along with the brutal arctic attacks. January into early February is standing out as the coldest although another cold March signal is showing up.

Snowfall--- nearly impossible to predict in advance (hard enough hours in advance) but given the potential interaction of the sub-tropical jet and these arctic attacks, above normal snowfall (normal is 12.5″) is still in the outlook. This will be especially true near the “battle zone” locations where the two extremes interact. And yes, WAVE Country still looks to be near or in that zone.

Winter forecasting is very challenging anywhere but certainly in the Ohio Valley. Small changes lead to big results. So this is just an overall theme to the pattern signals. The real fun takes place in the day-by-day forecasts. Stay close to the WAVE 3 Weather Blog for the fun and games ahead!

The video attached explains this all in more detail. I hope.

BOTS! (Bring On The Snow)

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