WeatherWatcher: Long Range Winter Outlook

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Winter is right around the corner and the freezing temperatures have already arrived. The big question always is, are we going to get more snow? 

Weather patterns are very similar to last winter with only some subtle differences going on. The one major difference this year is the Arctic had a much colder than normal summer and has continued that trend into the Fall. The higher contrast between the cold arctic and warm tropics has generated a stronger jet stream than we have had for the past few years. However, we are currently in a La Nada year or, neutral year for the El Nino Southern Oscillation. 

What does this mean for Shoreline and Lake Forest Park?
We will have frequent storms, rain storms mainly with some wind storms mixed in here and there. Storms will be intermittently blocked by what are called blocking patterns where high pressure sits over the west coast. This would give us clear cold nights, or foggy days with temperature inversions leading to burn bans. However, I don't think we will have any that last longer than about two weeks at a time. Arctic blasts, and snow chances are probably mid - late December. There is a slight chance we may have some marginal wet, slushy snow around the Christmas or New Year holidays. 

Bigger chances at a solid freeze and snow event may be later in January or early February, if we have any at all. Most of the cold air masses will likely be running down the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains so it will be fairly difficult to get that cold air to get over here most of the winter.

Snowfall at night under L.E.D. street lamps,
January 11, 2011. Photo by Carl Dinse
Bottom line, very much like last winter, with slightly stronger cold shots when they happen. Storms will be a little stronger as well when they do run through our state. Temperatures will be on average colder than normal until we reach spring. Precipitation should be close to normal.  It is expected that snow fall will be near normal as well.

For those dreaming of a snowy winter, I will leave you with this photo from January 11, 2011.

For winter storm updates and current weather conditions, check out my web page


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