I'm sure we all remember last winter. Bundling up every time you stepped out the door with the below average temperatures and the brutally cold outbreaks! Brushing the snow off your car and shoveling your driveway probably got old too! Here is the BIG question…will last year be similar to this year's winter?
Let's look back at last year's winter first.
We actually started off winter with above average temperatures in December! After that, temperatures took a nose dive. Both January and February were well below average with February coming in almost 7 degrees below average.
What about snowfall last year? Well, every single month had above average snowfall with January receiving the most at over 8 inches. The snow for the season more than doubled with 13.5 inches above our average!
So, are we in store for another brutal winter???
One thing is for sure, the overall pattern is very similar to last year. There are several things we look at to access this upcoming winter. Ocean temperatures have a big influence on the winter season. The ocean temperature patterns such as El Nino, PDO and NAO help us determine if it will be a mild winter or a bitterly cold one.
The jet steam pattern is also very helpful. We have been stuck in the same pattern all summer with a ridge in the west and a trough in the east. This same pattern is delivering us this arctic plunge over the next few days with high temps about 20 degrees below average! As it looks right now, we are stuck with this pattern for the winter.
The Siberian snow pack is also a good indicator of what's ahead for the upcoming winter. The theory is the amount of snow covering Eurasia is an indication of how much icy air will sweep down into our area from the arctic this winter. The snow pack is already bigger this year than it was at this time last year.
Taking all this into account, the Storm Team came up with a Winter Outlook. Overall, this year looks similar to last winter. We will have several cold outbreaks across Kentuckiana. What do we mean by cold outbreaks? Well, let's look back at this past January. We had a total of 3 cold air outbreaks that month. On January 6th and 7th we had highs in the teens with lows a few degrees below zero. Wind chill values were even lower in the minus teens. On January 27th we had a high of 50 degrees then fell to a high of 15 on January 28th. This is all very possible again this upcoming winter!
Just like last winter, on average, temperatures December through the end of March will run below average. Snowfall will also be above average this year. We believe that 18-22 inches will be possible. The average is 12.5 inches for the winter.
In summary, be prepared for another cold and snowy winter. You will use the hats, gloves and warm winter coats a lot this year!