It's time to get the winter coats ready. Winter is coming and it doesn't look pretty.
Last year we were lulled by a strong El Nino. That's warmer than normal water in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. Strong El Ninos bring Northern Ohio warm winter temperatures and snowfall that averages close to HALF of normal! That's what happened during the Winter of 2015-16.
But, El Nino is gone. In fact, we are actually looking at slightly cooler than normal water in the Pacific Ocean Equator Region.
So, it's a different pattern with different expectations for Winter.
But, El Nino/Southern Oscillation is just ONE of the factors I use to make my winter predictions. It's called Analog Forecasting. I compare ocean/atmospheric patterns that are larger scale, recurring and persistent for many weeks or months at a time...even years. If I compare current global teleconnections from the last few months with previous years, I should be able to find a few years in the past that match. Then, I'll look at what happened during those past winters. Those past years become the analog for this upcoming winter.
Analog forecasting is a not exact. It's hard to match every ocean/atmosphere connection to past years EXACTLY. But we should be able to get close. As long as Mother Nature doesn't change her mind and flip a pattern half-way through.
So which years match our current global patterns the closest? I've come up with 2013, 2010, 2008, and 1950.
Here's what those winters tell us about this upcoming season: TEMPERATURES COLDER THAN AVERAGE.
I predict Winter 2016-17 temperatures will average colder than normal. Remember, the Winter months are considered December, January, & February. This forecast suggests at least 2 degrees below average for those three months.
SNOWFALL WILL LIKELY FINISH NEAR TO SLIGHTLY ABOVE NORMAL.
Cleveland averages about 68 inches of snow for the winter. Akron closer to 48 inches. We should get close to that. Of course, March may bring a late snow event or two which could up the ante.
The first couple of weeks of November should be warmer than average for Northern Ohio, but then the pattern changes for the last two weeks of the month. We should get much colder, with the possibility of snow close to Thanksgiving.
Then December stays cold (BELOW).
January is cold too (BELOW).
And here's what February looks like. Still cold (BELOW).
The arrival of cold signals some lake effect snow as soon as late November and December.
Get the gloves and hats ready. Its gonna get cold!