Posts Tagged ‘winter weather’

Accuweather US Winter Forecast: Northeast to Dodge Winter’s Brutal Cold; Rain, Snow to Dent California Drought

October 9, 2015

Accuweather-Winter15

Where will the skiing be best this winter? Where will it be brutally cold? According to AccuWeather’s 2015-16 U.S. Winter Forecast, winter will kick off with mild weather in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic as an intensifying El Niño influences the weather pattern across the country.

El Niño will drive heavy rain and mountain snow to California, helping to replenish reservoirs but also threatening to cause flooding and mudslides. Meanwhile, a rain deficit will continue to build in the Northwest.

Here is a regional breakdown of the AccuWeather.com 2015-2016 U.S. Winter Forecast:

Brutal Cold Won’t Return to Northeast, Mid-Atlantic; Weak Lake-Effect Season in Store for Great Lakes

After the winter of 2014-2015 brought brutal cold to the northeastern United States, this season is set to be milder overall, but particularly during the early part of the season.

“We just don’t know exactly yet whether or not we’re going to see the pattern turn cold and snowy,” AccuWeather Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said. “…There is an opportunity that [the weather] could change on us as we get into February and early March.”

Regardless, the Northeast and mid-Atlantic can expect fewer days of subzero temperatures than last year. February of 2015 went down in the record books as the second-coldest February on record for both the region and for eight states individually, including Pennsylvania, New York and all six New England states.

Farther west, in the Great Lakes region, a lack of arctic air for much of the early and midwinter will lead to a weak lake-effect season, causing snowfall and precipitation totals to fall below normal.

Upstate New York and northern New England are not in the clear, however, as rain events along the coast early in the season can translate to snow in the higher elevations.

Severe Weather to Grip Southeast, Gulf Coast States

As one of the strongest El Niños in the last 50 to 60 years continues to develop, it’s likely that heavy rainfall and severe weather will take aim at the Southeast and Gulf Coast.

El Niño patterns often result in severe weather outbreaks for this region as bigger, stronger systems are able to take a southern storm track.

Florida, in particular, may have a higher risk for tornadoes this season. Southern Georgia and South Carolina are also at a higher risk for severe weather events.

Overall, heavy rain will be widespread for the South. As the season progresses, additional rain on an already saturated ground will increase the chances for flooding.

“As far as the biggest impacts go, I would look at Shreveport and New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama. I think those areas are going to get hit with a lot of rain,” Pastelok said.

Springlike Highs to Visit Northern Plains on Occasion; Below-Normal Temperatures to Grip Southern Plains

Wintry weather will become active early on in the northern Plains, with the potential for a few snowstorms as early as November and December.

As is typical for this region, however, the weather pattern will be a roller coaster, causing wintry weather to back off in the middle of the season and return again just before spring.

“There will be a good portion of the middle part of the season where [the weather] doesn’t do a lot, but the bookends can get pretty active,” Pastelok said.

At times, temperatures in the north-central Plains could soar into the 50s or even the 60s F for a couple of days as mild weather is pushed out from the Northwest and northern Rockies.

In the southern Plains, the building El Niño will dictate an active southern storm track, meaning the region could end up with above-normal precipitation.

Below-Normal Snowfall to Exacerbate Drought Woes in Northwest, Northern Rockies

Below-normal precipitation, in the form of both rain and snow, and above-normal temperatures will define the season across the Northwest and northern and eastern Rockies.

For the season as a whole, the region is likely to end up with snowfall totals much below normal.

“Ski areas in the northern Rockies may be missing out on significant fresh snowpack. They’re going to have to make most of their snow at night,” Pastelok said.

The dryness across the area could eventually translate to building drought conditions if spring rain is not abundant.

Wet, Snowy Conditions to Frequent the Southwest

Wet and snowy conditions will frequent the southwestern United States this winter.

“It may not happen early on, but by the middle of the season, I think they’re going to get hit very hard and frequently,” Pastelok said. “That’s going to put a lot of snow in the mountains and cause a lot of rain in the valley and desert areas.”

“Phoenix, Arizona, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, should prepare for significant precipitation this season. “These cities are not going to miss out this year,” according to Pastelok.

Across the region, a few precipitation events will occur during November and December, but things will pick up deeper into the season.

“January and February will bring more frequent heavy events,” he said.

El Niño to Send Rain, Snow to Parched California

“There’s good news and bad news for California,” according to Pastelok.

El Niño will help to set up a pattern of rain and snow for California, which is still dealing with devastating drought conditions and rampant wildfires.

Copious amounts of rain from systems over the same area, a theme which occurs often during this type of weather pattern, can lead to problems for California.

The state is dealing with more than 9 million acres of wildfire-charred land, more than 2.5 million acres more than the 10-year average.

“[The heavy rain] is going to lead to patterns in the mud where water will travel rapidly and lead to flooding,” Pastelok said. “It’s going to lead to developing streams and rivers that are not supposed to be there, and you’re going to get localized street flooding in the cities.”

Mudslides and basement flooding may also prove devastating for homeowners.

However, there’s a silver lining: The 2015-2016 season may yield triple the amount of snow than that which fell last year in the central and northern mountains.

“This is what fills the reservoirs in the spring and early summer,” Pastelok said.

Central California will finally experience the feast that follows famine. Pastelok believes his forecast may even be conservative for this area.

While the rain and snow will put a dent in the water crisis, it won’t result in the be-all and end-all residents are hoping for.

“Will it be enough? I think we need a couple of these kinds of years and I’m not sure we’re going to get that,” Pastelok said.

 

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AccuWeather Winter Forecast: Cold, Snow to Seize Northeast; Wintry Blasts to Slick South

October 22, 2014
AccuWeather's winter prediction: cold, snow to seize the Northeast; wintry blasts to slick South (map from AccuWeather)

AccuWeather’s winter prediction: cold, snow to seize the Northeast; wintry blasts to slick South (map from AccuWeather)

AccuWeather is forecasting that  though parts of the Northeast and mid-Atlantic had a gradual introduction to fall, winter will arrive without delay. Cold air and high snow amounts will define the season – good for ski resorts but not so good for urban areas and Mid-Atlantic places where even the slightest amount of snow or ice wreaks havoc.

Farther south, ice storms and snow events will threaten the Tennessee Valley and parts of the southern Plains. Much of the South can prepare for a wet winter, with some severe weather encroaching on Florida.

The northern Plains will be somewhat inconsistent with variable, back-and-forth temperatures and below-normal snowfall. Meanwhile, the drought will persist in the Northwest and northern California and ease slightly farther south.

Cold Northeast, Interior Mid-Atlantic to Yield Snowy Winter Season

After record-shattering temperatures and high snow totals last winter in the Northeast, a similar theme will continue into the 2014-2015 season.

Cold air will surge into the Northeast in late November, but the brunt of the season will hold off until January and February. The polar vortex, the culprit responsible for several days of below-zero temperatures last year, will slip down into the region from time to time, delivering blasts of arctic air.

“I think, primarily, we’ll see that happening in mid-January into February but again, it’s not going to be the same type of situation as we saw last year, not as persistent,” AccuWeather.com Expert Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

“The cold of last season was extreme because it was so persistent. We saw readings that we haven’t seen in a long time: 15- to 20-below-zero readings.”

In addition to the cold air, a big snow season could be in the offing. Higher-than-normal snow totals are forecast west of the I-95 corridor.

“Places like Harrisburg, down to Hagerstown getting into the mountains, the Appalachians, I think that’s where you’re going to see your bigger, heavier amounts,” Pastelok said.

Philadelphia, which received a whopping 68.9 inches last season, is forecast to close this season with snow totals just above normal. New York City will likely follow suit.

The I-95 corridor and eastward could fall victim to changeover systems, which will provide a messy wintry mix at times.

Rain, Snow, Ice All Threats for Southeast, Gulf States, Tennessee Valley

“I’m very concerned about the Tennessee Valley to the Gulf Coast as far as extremes go this year,” Pastelok said.

Areas from eastern Texas all the way up to eastern Kentucky could be under the gun for ice events this season. The region will likely see this in January, but the I-10 corridor should be on guard for a sneaky late-January or early-February storm.

Overall, the region will have a very wet winter, but the timing of these storms will determine whether a flood risk exists.

“These are big storms that are going to form and put down a lot of rain, but there may be breaks in between,” Pastelok said.

“The Gulf hasn’t been disturbed from tropical activity, so the warmer waters may hang on into the middle part of the winter and give us that extra boost into some of these systems coming up the East Coast.”

The weather pattern, a weak El Nino, paired with the southern storm track and rich moisture source will set up Florida for a significant severe weather potential in mid- to late winter. Tornadoes will be possible from mid-January to February.

Dry, Less Harsh Winter in Store for Midwest, Ohio Valley, Northern and Central Plains

In a story similar to the Northeast, the winter season has several cold months planned for the Midwest, though not quite as extreme as last year.

Temperature wise, areas such as Duluth, Minnesota, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, may be 7-9 degrees warmer than last year’s three-month average.

Below-normal snowfall totals are also forecast.

Chicago could fail to reach 30 inches this year, and Minneapolis has an even greater chance of falling below normal.

Farther west, the northern and central Plains will endure roller-coaster temperatures. Fewer clipper systems than normal will reach down into the area, preventing high overall snow totals.

El Nino May Lead to High Moisture in Southern Plains, Interior Southwest

A weak El Nino pattern, which is expected to unfold, may lead to high moisture in the Southwest.

“That moisture source is needed to get above-normal snowfall for the region. I do believe there are going to be periods where moisture gets in there,” Pastelok said.

If it does, the Four Corners region, including Albuquerque, could get near- to slightly above-normal snowfall totals this year.

“Northwestern Texas, western Oklahoma, Kansas, they can also see near- to slightly above-normal snowfall this year,” Pastelok said.

Winter Precipitation Won’t Bust Northwest, Northern California Drought

As California suffers through its fourth and most extreme year of drought, the state is in dire need of precipitation this winter.

“California, the northern Sierra and Sierra Nevada are going to be below normal, although I do think that they are going to get enough snow to hold back the drought just a little bit from getting any worse than it is,” Pastelok said.

December will bring some rain to northern California, but the precipitation will ease off in the following months, making the region drier than normal by February. After a season of intense wildfires, the precipitation that reaches the Northwest will not be enough to prevent problems next year.

However, the winter isn’t all bad news for the drought-stricken region, Pastelok said.

The weather pattern will allow some Eastern Pacific moisture to be pulled in, causing some big events which will increase the snowfall rates in the mountains.

Additionally, Southern California looks to fare better than its northern counterpart with slightly above-normal precipitation this season, especially in areas farther from the coast.

 

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