WINTER OUTLOOK, COLD AND SNOWY?
Many "ingredients" are in play with comes to Winter here in NC, one "special ingredient" that will come into play for temperatures and snowfall this year is El Niño and that complicates the winter outlook. In the past North Carolina's Weather Authority normally does not issue an official winter outlook, I have decided differently this year so here we go. This forecast will include month by month outlook, "snowfall guess" for many NC cites and detailed map of the forecast check out below. A busy winter is expected please read below to answer all your questions!
It has come to consensus that El Niño is developing in the Pacific Ocean which has major impacts on the winter here in NC. Every few years, El Nino develops in the Pacific ocean, and it affects the weather worldwide. Normally, trade winds in the tropical Pacific blow from east to west, pushing warmer water to the western side of the Pacific, around Asia. During El Niño years, the trade winds are weaker, allowing waters to warm along Central and South America. For the US El Niño typically means cooler than normal winters for the south and southeast and wetter than average conditions from Southern California to North Carolina. In the northern part of the U.S., El Niño triggers warmer and drier weather.
FORECAST: All it takes is for one big snow or ice storm to make a winter for the years. I have looked at global oscillations, Eurasian snowpack, El Nino, historical analogs, and even sun spot cycles to give us an idea of how our winter may evolve. Based on the above information, the Southern Jet Stream wants to stay really suppressed into the deep-south. As we have seen in the past, this deep southern track favors bringing storms up out of the Gulf of Mexico towards NC. These have given us some really big snows and even nasty ice storms in the past. NC is listed from NOAA’s “equal chances” category, meaning it’s hard to predict what the temperatures will be like across the southeast during weak El Niño years. The first image you will see is our winter forecast map, keep in mind our map does not count for ice/sleet suppression of snow.
The real winners this winter will be out mountains as some models I have reviewed indicated a much cooler profile especially in the northern and southern mountains. Plus, they have the added benefit of a Northwest flow where upsloping on the windward side of the mountains generates snow from very little moisture. Therefore, the mountains has been added in the 200% category for snowfall basically double the snow. The Piedmont region of the state will see elevated snow chances this season, but will also likely endure the brunt of any icing that develops so between 175% and 150% of snowfall given a normal average season is 100%. We see a near normal winter for our coastal counties. The southern coastal plain has a better chance this season as it will be right along the anticipated storm tracks to the west of the track sees snow.
Warm air aloft can turn a decent snowfall into a frozen mess in short order as snow melts, then either freezes on contact with the surface freezing rain or refreezes to make sleet. The southern Jet favors this and a similar year for comparison was 2002-2003 major ice storm event. Given the track of the storms, a more inland track would deliver more in the way of rain while a track along our coast will bring frozen precipitation well inland. Depending on the upper air thermal profile, I expect a few of the storms to have a tight precipitation gradient where it is snowing in one location and 75 miles east, all rain this is a usual set for NC regarding a messy snow event. This scenario also delivers more chances for Ice Storms than we have seen in awhile, given we have already had a Freezing rain event this strongly supports it.
Month by Month outlook, what to expect based on research!
December will feature a near normal to slight below average temps, with equal chances of above to below normal precipitation.
Here is some major Highlights that I have found for December state-wide!
UP & DOWN TEMPERATURE SWINGS
COLDER WITH A BLOCKING PATTERN END OF DEC
COLD RAIN EVENTS
SNOW EVENTS IN WESTERN NC (MOUNTAINS)
SNOW EVENT ACROSS OF LARGE PORTION OF NC POSS
SOME WARM TEMPS POSSIBLE
SOME PARTS OF NC WHITE CHRISTMAS?? Last Christmas we saw very warm temperatures, there really is no way and knowing if we will see that again or a cold winter. Based on research and models it would favor a cold Christmas
January looks to be a brutal month "battle month" this appears to be our coldest period of winter!
Here is some major Highlights that I have found for January state-wide!
HIGH CHANCES OF SNOW FOR JANUARY
HEAVY MOUNTAIN SNOW
COLD RAIN EVENTS ALSO POSSIBLE
ICE THREAT OUTSIDE THE MOUNTAINS
February looks to be our wettest month, with the focus here on an ice threat.
Here is some major Highlights that I have found for February state-wide.
NOT AS COLD
MORE SNOW EVENTS POSSIBLE
SNOWFALL GUESS: Based on the above information and Maps you have seen here is our official Snowfall Predictions. These are calculated based on different percentages and a snow blend of averages to get a forecasted number, then I take it and put it into a range. I started this page to be accurate, this is my first year doing this using math and research stated above, actual snowfall may vary place to place.
Bottom Line: This winter will feature a higher threat for snowfall and ice storms in years past, With El Niño, active subtropical jet stream, and shots of cold air from Canada. While everyone wants a giant massive snowfall, all it takes is .30 inch of accumulated ice on trees to cause widespread power outages. After Florence and Michael, we have seen our fair share of damage, so our trees are already weakened and due to the extremely wet conditions any extra weight could lead to major impacts. Loss of power in winter is more dangerous than in summer as people try to stay warm. As always stay with us for coverage you can count on no matter what, I will get you through the season! If you have any questions please contact on our facebook page!