(WTNH)–In under 24 hours, winter will officially begin, but as we’ve already seen, this winter started off really early.
What a change from the last handful of years when our winter started with temperatures that were in the 60s. What we’ve seen this year is much more normal for the month of December where we should see an average of around 6 inches of snow before the new year begins. So what does the National Weather Service‘s Climate Prediction Center have to say about the winter to come? It might be different than you think.
Mike Halpert of the Climate Prediction Center said, “Both observations and computer forecasts suggest La Nina is likely to develop.”
During a La Nina winter, the sea surface temperatures in the Eastern and Central Pacific are colder than normal. This creates an area of high pressure that often brings cold air to the Northwestern United States. As a result, the opposite happens for the south and east coast.
“With La Nina likely, we favor above average temperatures temperatures across the southern two thirds of the Continental United States and the East Coast.” mentioned Halpert
Because of this, we will likely see warmer than average temperatures with mild temps in January and February giving us a mid-winter thaw to look forward to.
In addition, the precipitation outlook shows equal chances of greater than and less than normal amounts. Unfortunately based on the statistics, this type of pattern often gives us increased likelihood of a snowier than average winter.
So the thaw is good news, but there is some not so great news with the outlook over the next few weeks. Based on the latest date for the end of December into the first few days of January, we’re expecting extremely cold temperatures where our high temperatures could be stuck in the teens or even colder for some spots. Such extreme cold is typically accompanied with wind so if you’ve got plans to do some skiing around the New Year, make sure you get those extra layers ready. If you ask me, I’ll be hybernating until that January thaw returns.