Current Mild Pattern is not Surprising based upon Analogs for this Winter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… Happy December! The holidays are here and Christmas is now only 22 days away! Who wants a white Christmas? Could the Mid-Atlantic receive a snow storm before Christmas, absolutely.  Could it be mild with no snow during the remainder of December… absolutely.  When I issue a winter forecast, I am speaking in general terms based on historical years with similar ocean temperatures and patterns.  So let’s break down December through February based upon the analog years for temperatures and precipitation:

December temperature anomalies (departure from average).

December temperature anomalies (departure from average).

December precipitation anomalies (departure from average).

December precipitation anomalies (departure from average).

January temperature anomalies (departure from average).

January temperature anomalies (departure from average).

January precipitation anomalies (departure from average).

January precipitation anomalies (departure from average).

February temperature anomalies (departure from average).

February temperature anomalies (departure from average).

February precipitation anomalies (departure from average).

February precipitation anomalies (departure from average).

So as you can see, according to the analogs, the winter is expected to start out mild (December) and then progressively get colder as we head into January and February. 

9 thoughts on “Current Mild Pattern is not Surprising based upon Analogs for this Winter

  1. Andy

    Except for 1997-98, the analog years are in the Hall of Fame for DC snowstorms!

    The one bad year, 1997-98 had record snowfalls in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, so even that was close. There was just a complete lack of cold air for DC.

    Eurasian snowcover is near record levels and Arctic sea ice is higher than last year. I believe we still have the warm blob in the Pacific south of Alaska. I am thinking (hoping) that will tip the balance toward enough cold air for snow sooner or later.

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    • Brendan Friedrich

      Sounds similar to 2011-2012 as well! National Airport also got 1 tenth of an inch of snow just like 1997. These conditions are similar.

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  2. Brendan Friedrich

    Looking too warm for a white Christmas. What was it like in December before the big storm in 2009? If these conditions are the same that could bode well. I have been watching the pattern and I would like to see deep snowpack sooner rather than later. Will there be moisture-rich storms in December?

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    • Beth

      http://www.erh.noaa.gov/rnk/events/2009/Dec_18_19th_Snowstorm/summary.php

      The link confirms what the weather was like in December of 2009, especially a very significant snowstorm in the Mid-Atlantic states which likely made many folks happy for a white Christmas. Unfortunately, for this December of 2015, I am not anticipating any significant snowstorms in the Mid-Atlantic states. This coming weekend will be in the 60’s!

      The 2016 months of January, February, and March remain to be seen.

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    • Brendan Friedrich

      Chris I like it. The west is getting hammered right now though! After this weekend I think record warmth is coming back! Keep your fingers croosed!

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  3. Tyler Woods

    So, it looks like snow is out of the question for the rest of December. Are there any long range models that maybe give a hint to when we’ll start seeing cold (even normal) temperatures?

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  4. Brendan Friedrich

    Hi Tim. I know that it’s getting warm next week. But I heard signs of hope. I saw the NAO is going negative which might mean snow. Could there be a storm that produces snow inthe next 2 to 3 weeks? I’m really hoping!

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