It seems like everyone and their mother is wondering about winter this week, since our next storm on Friday will bring a little snow, even to Southern New England.
Here are a few thoughts.
All signs continue to point toward an El Nino year, meaning warm waters around the equator in the Pacific. In New England, this usually means milder than average temperatures as a whole, and wetter than average conditions as a whole.
When looking at El Nino history, long range guidance, and our warmer world, odds favor a warmer than average December, January and February around Greater Boston. Remember, this does not mean it will feel "warm" this winter. Winter still feels cold.
As for how much precipitation we'll see, things get tricky. In El Nino years, the Boston area typically sees more precipitation than usual. This has also been a very wet autumn. In similarly wet autumn seasons, Greater Boston has also often had above average winter precipitation.
Long range models, however, hint that we actually may not be as wet as of late. With that in mind, I would expect a winter with near, or slightly, above average precipitation around Greater Boston. Note: precipitation is not the same as snowfall.
The hardest category of all is predicting snowfall. Nailing a rain versus snow line hours before a storm is hard. A whole season? Not fun.
Here again I turn to our recent past.
When we look at wet autumns like this year from the past century, we find subsequent winters that were pretty lackluster snow-wise in Boston. The vast majority had much less snow than the average 40-ish inches that fall. One was close to average, one above.
With that in mind, odds right now favor below average snowfall around Boston this winter. This doesn't mean there will not be big storms. Even if a year ends up below average, there can be a biggie mixed in.
As I said off the top, these are just some thoughts given the latest trends we're seeing right now. Long range predictions are vague and can change. This is meant strictly as a guide given the available data right now.
When we say "stay tuned," we mean it.