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Mark Johnson gives his prediction for this winter's weather

Posted at 10:00 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 22:00:42-04

CLEVELAND — Hope you are enjoying this warm stretch of October weather. Average October high temperatures are normally in the 60s this time of year. Instead, it's feeling a lot more like June outside right now than October. And what's more: temperatures will likely stay above average for much of the month!

But remember: what goes up, must come down! And I expect temperatures to crash very quickly in November and December.

My Winter Forecast involves looking back at years with similar ocean temperature patterns. For instance, Pacific Ocean water temperatures near the Equator are likely to remain COOLER than normal for a second straight Winter. This is known as a La Nina pattern. This cooler water helps re-position areas of high and low pressure all around the globe. For instance, La Nina Winters usually signals drought conditions for California and the Desert Southwest. It can also position the Polar Jet Stream across North America to deliver frequent Arctic blasts across the Northern Plains and Lower Great Lakes. Right where you and I live!

The current ocean temperature patterns plus the warm October pattern that has set up across the Eastern United States would tend to favor a rapid descent into cold weather starting in November and lingering into December. Winter will start early!

With a warm Lake Erie early in the season, conditions are right for a few big blasts of lake effect snow across northern Ohio's snow belt.

Once we get into the second half of winter, La Nina weather patterns become less predictable. I call this whip-lash weather, frequent warm spells from January through March followed by equally as frigid cold spells. Lots of ups and downs for the last half of Winter.

As for snowfall, the storm track for a La Nina Winter favors a Great Lakes and Ohio Valley path. We will be in the storm sweet spot! Lots of active weather is on the way. Sometimes it will be cold rain. Other times, like last winter, we will shovel some heavy snow! But, when you add it all up, previous years with this similar La Nina pattern ended with snowfall pretty close to normal for the region.

The bottom line for the winter of 2021-22: A fast cold start with potential lake effect snows through December. Then frequent ups and downs for the second half into 2022. Snowfall will likely finish close to the average for the season.