Over the past couple weeks, temperatures here in the Lower Susquehanna Valley have been very cool and Fall-like. Unfortunately, we are in for a significant pattern change coming late this upcoming week. Recent model data suggusts mid to upper 70’s are likely for the first week of October, and possibly beyond. Take a look at the GFS for Thursday October 2nd.
As temperatures begin to cool down and leaves begin to change, it’s time to say farewell to summer. Fall starts Monday, but more importantly, winter is right around the corner. That means it’s time for our yearly winter outlook!
First of all, let’s take a look at several important factors that shape our outlook. To begin with, the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the most well-known simply because of its great impact on winter weather. Back in late spring it looked as though we were going to be dealing with a Strong El Nino by now.
However, cooler SST anomalies flooded into the ENSO region this summer, postponing any type of El Nino event until the upcoming winter months. We expect the ENSO to be neutral in November and December, possibly reaching weak El Nino levels by mid-winter. A Weak El Nino increases winter storm activity on the East Coast by nearly 75%. Also, snowfall in the Midwest is generally below average with a Weak El Nino.
Furthermore, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a significant player during the winter months. It often fluctuates between the negative and positive phase every few weeks. When negative, the Eastern US often experiences deep cold and intense winter storms that are generated in Pacific or Gulf of Mexico. A positive NAO opens the door for above average temperatures and smaller, weaker storms. But as we witnessed last winter, a positive NAO does not guarantee calm and warm weather on the East Coast. It is nearly impossible to forecast exact time frames when the NAO will cool to a negative phase or warm to a positive phase. As a result, it is safe to say the NAO will alternate phases often this winter.
We could get into much more detail, but the purpose of our winter outlook is to inform you, not to blow your mind. Overall, snowfall this winter is looking slightly below average in the beginning, becoming slightly above average as the winter progresses. Temperatures will likely be slightly below average, nowhere near as cold as last winter. We do not expect a repeat of last winter. We hope you enjoyed our 2014-2015 Winter Outlook, and will be around for a wild ride this upcoming winter here at S&S.