Wintah is Coming

For the first time this season we had some snow showers to track on the radar.  The snow was confined to western MA and VT overnight and really only grassy surfaces above 1500 ft saw any accumulation.  Still it begs the question, is this a sign of things to come?!?

Just to refresh your memory, there were flurries across much of the Boston area on the 18th of October last year.  That made many people nervous that we were in for another nasty winter.  But it turned out to be a very mild winter with only 36.1″ of snow total for Boston.  That’s below the average of 44″ of snow and almost exactly what I predicted would happen about this time last year when I worked at another station in town.   (sorry, couldn’t resist, I so rarely get a chance to brag in my line of work)

That was an educated guess on my part, so this time I will leave it to the experts.  The on again/off again La Nina which we have discussed a few times before is now back ON again and a La Nina Watch was issued earlier this month.  That’s important because forecaster’s at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) issued their winter outlook this past week and they now believe that the winter weather in the US will be influenced by La Nina.  So what does that mean?!?

Well, La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean tend to create warmer and drier than normal conditions in the winter across the entire southern US.  The opposite is true for parts of the northern US. La Nina winters tend to favor above average snowfall around the Great Lakes and in the northern Rockies and below average snowfall in the mid-Atlantic.  For the rest of the US, it could go either way.   This La Nina is predicted to be weak and short-lived, so there just isn’t a strong enough signal to make a call at this point.  It’s not the slam dunk forecast that last year’s near record breaking El Nino was.  Most likely, other factors that are harder to predict this far in advance will play a bigger role in New England’s winter weather than La Nina will.  So, in other words, we will have to wait and see.  Most importantly, Mike Halpert, deputy director of the CPC says the outlook “provides the public with a good reminder that winter is just up ahead and it’s a good time to prepare for typical winter hazards.”

2016 winter outlook - temperature

2016 winter outlook - precipitation

How about the drought?!?  The forecasters at the CPC say “drought will likely persist through the winter in many regions currently experiencing drought…New England will see a mixed bag, with improvement in the western parts and persistence to the east.”   So they aren’t too enthusiastic about any major drought relief here this winter.

Our weather today will be dominated by gusty winds.  Gusts of 40-50 mph will be common through the day.  Clouds clear out, but only briefly.  A weak, quick moving storm system will pass just south of us overnight.  That means clouds come back into the area Sunday night and some areas south of the Pike might see a few showers late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Sunshine returns Monday afternoon and temperatures will be similar to Sunday only without the wind.

Tuesday will be mostly sunny but chilly.  Wednesday will be similar with some exceptions…the Cape and the South Shore.  A slight change in the wind direction on Wednesday will likely lead to some ocean effect clouds in those areas.

Wednesday night will be very chilly with Boston dropping to near the freezing mark and the usual cooler suburbs falling down to the mid 20s.

A more significant chance of rain arrives Thursday night into Friday.

In the meantime, for the Game of Thrones fans…

Image result for winter is coming meme

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