The infamous winter forecast is here, the one that normally gets all the hype and views because everyone wants to know how snowy of a winter it will be. It’s hard to forecast what a season will be like, but we’re going to try to explain to you what you can expect this winter and why.
It’s been warm lately and that trend is forecast to continue during meteorological winter (December 1 through February 28) overall. The most supportive reason for a warmer than average winter is the continuation of a weak to moderate La Nina. I’m sure you remember the year of the El Nino, which is when the equatorial Pacific ocean waters were above average. A La Nina is the opposite--It’s when sea surface temperatures in that part of the world are below average. Weather is all connected, and this La Nina is probably the most significant feature when it comes to developing the winter forecast for 2017-18. Often times with a La Nina during the winter, it’s colder across much of the Northern Tier of the U.S. and warmer across the South. Every La Nina is different, however. The latest model trends actually show a cooler than average or perhaps average December, but January and February are expected to be on the mild side, relatively speaking, overall. That doesn’t mean we won’t get any cold outbreaks because we likely will, but the general theme is for a mild winter.
So how much is it going to snow. That’s the million dollar question that I’m sure all of you are asking. It depends on the temperature and how wet or dry the season will be. Often times during a La Nina winter, we’re in that battle zone between the warm and cool air. I am thinking precipitation will be above average during the season with rain, ice, and snow all ahead. The snowiest month is looking to be in December where a couple strong nor’easters may develop off the East Coast. All of that moisture combined with the cold air forecast is a perfect recipe for snow. Then in January and February, since it is forecast to be warmer than average, I think we’ll get a fair mix of rain and snow. February is the snowiest month of the year for southwestern Connecticut, but my money's on December for the highest snowfall during the winter of 2017-18.