LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In our ongoing quest to give you the Earliest Alert Outlook, the WAVE 3 News Weather Team has already turned its eyes to winter, combing through mountains of data -- more than ever, in fact -- hoping to nail down the long-range forecast again.
There are many methods folks use to predict winters in WAVE Country, but there's no substitute for science.
We look at factors like El Nino and its cool-counterpart expected this year -- known as La Nina -- which is cooler than normal ocean waters in the Pacific.
Data like that is very telling, and so are things like Arctic sea ice measurements -- sunspots, Rossby waves, Pacific decadal oscillation, or PDO, among other factors.
But while the picture isn't entirely clear, here's our assessment of what the data is telling us:
In short, you'll need the snow shovel, probably more in the later half of the season this time around. And you'll want a good winter coat, too.
We will see some blasts of bitter cold, but here's the good news: We'll also see even more warmer-than-usual days, putting us just above the average winter temperature overall.
What about that four-letter word? Snow? With those blasts of cold air coming, and La Nina ushering in extra precipitation to the northeast, it's very likely we won't have a snow drought. But we'll also find ourselves walking that perilous line between ice and snow.
Overall, total snowfall should add up to be about average, just over a foot when it's said and done.
So when can we expect all this? Probably right around the time your out-of-town guests begin to arrive.
It looks like a cold wave should hit by Thanksgiving, and the odds of a white Christmas are on the rise. In fact, our science shows cold and possible snow coming right on schedule with Santa.
Signal analysis points to a good chance we'll see a significant winter event right around the last week of the year.
The drought to our south may also play an important role in cutting off the moisture feed and allowing dry air to wipe out lighter snow events. And often, we're right on that line, the one between ice and snow. It's likely we'll be walking that line again this year.
SNOWFALL – near normal 13"
TEMPERATURES – slightly above average (+4°)
More of the science behind the forecast can be found on the WAVE 3 Weather Blog.