Weather forecasts have come a long way from the weatherman of the 1970s, who was lucky to get the 3-day forecast correct. Today, with the input of many data points around the globe and many online weather services, anyone can access a great 10-day forecast.
In our business, we look at the seasonal forecast almost as much, although we rarely rely on them. Depending on your source, the next few months could be warm and wet, or the snowiest and coldest winter in many years. Let’s take a look at the range of possibilities!
NOAA calls for Warm and Wet
The NOAA Climate Prediction Center is the go-to source for forecasts and predictions based on best available science and global data. According to NOAA, we are in for a warmer and wetter winter than normal due to the a growing La Niña effect. (La Nina is when equatorial waters cool and shift weather patterns globally.)
“For the second winter in a row, La Niña conditions have developed and are forecast to continue into spring 2022,” Jon Gottschalck, chief of the climate center’s operational prediction branch, told the media recently. “Therefore, the temperature and precipitation outlooks are somewhat similar to the forecast issued last year at this time.”
Accuweather calls for Cold and Snow
In a bold move, the meteorologists at Accuweather.com unveiled a different outlook from NOAA. Using the same data, but emphasizing global conditions differently, they are calling for a cold and snowy winter in our area.
Much depends on the jet stream. This is because La Niña tends to cause a big dip in the jet stream in the middle of the continent; from there, the jet stream rises north and crosses over the Ohio Valley and through Central and Upstate New York. Small swings in the jet stream can put NY on the cold or warm side of it, spelling the difference between snow and rain. It would seem Accuweather is counting on the dip in the jet stream to drift east, blasting colder air our way.
The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a “Season of Shivers”
For what it’s worth, there is one more source many of us like to check: The Old Farmer’s Almanac. For 230 years, the Almanac has been helping readers to prepare for winter’s worst and they boast an accuracy rate of 80% over that time. Pretty impressive.
If this is your #1 source for a seasonal weather forecast, then you better be prepared for a very cold and snowy winter. According to the Almanac, “In some places, the super cold of the coming winter will also bring lots of snow. This extreme wintry mix is expected in areas of New England as well as throughout the Ohio Valley.” The Almanac’s editor Janice Stillman, doubled down on this forecast saying, “This coming winter could well be one of the longest and coldest that we’ve seen in years.” Yikes!
Overall, the NOAA forecast seems the more plausible to us, especially with winters being warmer in general in recent years. This doesn’t affect our planning or preparation in any way – we are ready for whatever winter throws at us because we know in these parts, if you don’t like the weather … just wait a minute!