We’re not even at the end of summer, and already New Englanders are looking ahead to winter. While it’s much too early to discuss specifics, we can start to get a hint of what’s ahead.
One of many factors we look at when making long term forecasts is the temperature of the Pacific Ocean. Right now, the Pacific is warming. That trend is likely to continue into the winter.
That warmer than average set up around the equator in the Pacific is an El Nino pattern.
Historically, El Nino patterns leave New England warmer than average in the winter and a bit wetter than average.
With that in mind, the Climate Prediction Center expects November, December, and January to be warmer than average across New England.
Meanwhile, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, based in New Hampshire, also expects a mild winter across New England. The publication adds that while precipitation is expected to be above average overall, there will likely be less snow in Southern New England. Snow is expected to be close to average in Northern New England, it says.
While the Almanac claims 80 percent accuracy, independent studies of its forecasts show accuracy rates closer to 50 to 60 percent.
As we move into fall, the winter outlook will come into better view, but winter is always tricky.
As any New Englander knows, just a few miles mark the difference between rain or snow. And nailing down the exact placement of rain/snow lines is hard enough hours before a storm hits. Nailing down trends on how much snow will fall in an entire season is even more challenging, especially this far away.