PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Often times one of the markers that can impact the winter season is the presence of EL Nino or La Nina. This year, these weather phenomenon will be neutral and have no influence.
Other factors taken into consideration are the position of the jet stream, the corresponding storm track and air mass placement. Will the pattern be progressive or blocking and for how long?
In the last 25 years, there have been five winters with a similar pre-season set-up, and while each season had some variation between them, the one constant in all five, below normal snowfall.
This winter is shaping up to be full of changes; significant shifts in the weather patterns leading to changes occurring on a month-to-month basis.
And, based on Jeff’s outlook, depending on the month, you may be sporting a light jacket and running the North Park Lake in relative comfort or layering up to spread salt and digging into Mother Nature’s version of a winter blanket.
Let’s start with a month-to-month temperature breakdown.
It the graph below, the red line represents the average high temperature for each month from November through March. The blue line represents the low temperature for each.
November will gracefully ease us into the season with some ups and downs; but in the end, will finish near normal.
In December, Jeff expects frequent mild periods with temperatures about five degrees above average for the month, which should make holiday decorating more comfortable.
January will start off a little mild, and then turn colder the second half of the month, and we’ll finish slightly above normal.
Old Man Winter will flip the script in February, making this the coldest month of winter. Temperatures will nosedive below normal.
That cold trend will carry into early March before milder air returns by mid-month, and we’ll end a couple degrees above average.
Now, time to say it ain’t snow!
Last year, we finished the season with just over 57 inches, which was way above the seasonal average of 41 inches. This year, we won’t approach last year’s total. As a matter of fact, Jeff says he expects us to finish several inches below normal.
Let’s start with November again. It should not stray too far from normal. The average is two inches. Jeff expects 2.2 inches.
The theme of December’s snow story will mimic the temperature trend. Milder air meaning less snowfall; 4.4 inches should do it to close out 2013, which is about half the average of 8.3 inches.
January will be a bit of a transition month with an up and down temperature cycle. Snowfall will pick up a little momentum, but still finish below climatology. Jeff expects 7.9 inches, which is about four inches less than the average of 11.8 inches.
Now, to February, winter should hit its stride with an active storm track and lots more cold air available. This will lead to more frequent snowfall and above average totals for the month. Jeff expects 11.5 inches. The normal is 10.7 inches.
In March, there will be some carryover early in the month, then will ease its grip. Jeff anticipates a snow total of 6 inches, which is just below the average of 7.6 inches.
So, to recap, temperatures will start the season above normal, especially December with an aim toward a colder and stormier February into early March, which means bank on a shadow this year from our furry friend, Phil.
Total snowfall from November through March will be below average at 32 inches, which is almost nine inches less than the average of 40.8 inches.