National Weather Service’s Winter Outlook (2014)

The National Weather Service issued their forecast for the upcoming winter season today.  Let’s take a look, shall we?

Temperature outlook for Winter 2014

Temperature outlook for Winter 2014

The 2014-2015 outlook has chances for warmer weather on the West Coast and the northern sections of the U.S., with colder than average temperatures in the South.

Precipitation outlook for Winter 2014

Precipitation outlook for Winter 2014

The weather pattern looks to be drier than average along the Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest, with the South and East Coast looking wetter than average.

Midwest temperature outlook, Winter 2014/2015

Midwest temperature outlook, Winter 2014/2015

Midwest precipitation outlook, Winter 2014/2015

Midwest precipitation outlook, Winter 2014/2015

For the Stateline specifically, we have a good chance for below average precipitation (snowfall) this winter, with equal chances for above or below average temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.  That means there isn’t a strong indicator one way or the other right now for a warmer or colder winter for the Midwest.

A couple things to keep in mind:

-These are probabilities for above/below temperature/precipitation, not definites.  For example, the prediction for below average precipitation for the Midwest means that more likely than not we will have less than usual snowfall, however there still may be a chance that snowfall will be above average.

-Remember that this is a prediction for the whole season- there are plenty of smaller or short term weather patterns that can occur that will throw the prediction off, and because they are smaller in scale or time, they cannot be factored in yet.  For example, remember this pattern from last winter?

This is a Greenland Block pattern, when high pressure near Greenland "clogs up" the weather pattern, keeping very cold air diving down into the center of the U.S.

This is a Greenland Block pattern, when high pressure near Greenland “clogs up” the weather pattern, keeping very cold air diving down into the center of the U.S.

Short term patterns like the Greenland Block can change up the weather for a few days to weeks, and may affect or contradict the overall prediction for the season.

-As mentioned above, this is an overall look at the winter season.  It won’t provide any specifics, like if or when a blizzard may hit, how many snow storms may occur, or how cold it will be on some random date, like January 15.

-It would be really nice to have a clear picture, but forecasters are limited some this year by a lack of strong climate indicators.  For example, a weak El Nino pattern has been struggling to form.  When it finally does form, weak El Ninos are generally harder to deal with because their impacts are not as clear cut as a strong El Nino.  By the way, El Ninos usually bring wet weather for all of the southern U.S., so if you aren’t a fan of snow, keep rooting for El Nino to keep the wet weather to the south of us!

So let’s revisit this some time in March or so, after winter is over, and see how the National Weather Service’s prediction played out.  A few things are guaranteed for this upcoming winter: it is coming, it will be cold, and there will be some snow. 😉

-Alex

 

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Posted under 13 Climate Authority, weather, winter weather

This post was written by Alex Kirchner on October 16, 2014

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