Mark Johnson's winter weather forecast for northeast Ohio 2013-2014

CLEVELAND - There's a lot that goes into a seasonal forecast, especially a winter one. You see, our weather, warm or cold, snowy or dry, depends on processes happening hundreds, even thousands, of miles away.

First you've got to head to the beach and look at the oceans. Ocean temperatures have a lot to do with where areas of high and low pressure will travel around the world.

A cooler-than-normal ocean pattern off the Pacific Northwest (called the cold Pacific Decadal Oscillation) suggests areas of high pressure will settle in across western states from the Rockies to California. It looks a bit warmer and dryer out there this winter.

Warmer waters will likely continue to occupy the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. This is the Atlantic  
Multidecadal Oscillation.

Warm waters there suggest snow moving high pressures over that part of the world this winter. These high pressures will, in turn, cause big ripples in the jet stream that guides storm systems across the U.S. With warmer air likely favored in the west.

Where do you think the cold air will settle? Yep, the northern Plains and the Great Lakes.

Current ocean patterns suggest big waves of cold air will spill down out of Canada this winter. These cold spells will be followed by brief warm-ups. Some brief UPS, and some big DOWNS are on the way.

December looks near normal temperature-wise, with near to slightly above normal snowfall. January and February temperatures should feature lots of winter cold.

As for snowfall, the Ohio River Valley will likely be the battleground for winter storms. That would suggest increased storminess and precipitation over Northern Ohio.

Cleveland averages about 65 inches of snow per season. Akron and Canton measure about 48 inches per season. I would expect snowfall to increase by 5 to 10 inches across the region this winter.


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