Winter looks to be cold

Sunset in ski resort mountains Stowe, Vermont. Photo courtesy by www.andrewharper.com
Sunset in ski resort mountains Stowe, Vermont. Photo courtesy by www.andrewharper.com

 

 

Vt. & N.H. – Officially, winter is considered the months of Dec, Jan and Feb. In this part of the world, it is not uncommon to see snow from November through April, especially in the mountains.

We are coming off a very strong El Niño last year and forecast to either have a weak La Niña this winter or neutral ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) conditions.

Last year was a very low snow year and mild due to the El Niño.

Looking back at the past 100-120 years there have been at least 8 winters similar to last year. All but one of the following winters had below normal snowfall. On average, the following winters had roughly 2/3 of normal snowfall, so I would expect around double the snowfall of last winter but still below normal.

For temperature, more than half of the winters that followed these mild winters of the past, had below normal temperatures (I looked at NOV – APR average temperatures). I would look for temperatures near normal to below normal this winter.

Neutral ENSO winters tend to be colder than normal.

 

So, based on past experience, this winter looks to be cold, but drier than normal – so less snow than normal. This fits with the drought pattern that we are currently in.

The official National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center forecasts can be found at:

http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=4

For Dec, Jan and Feb they are forecasting near normal temperature and precipitation.

 

Steve DiRienzo Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service Forecast Office

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