Tim’s 2021- 2022 DC Winter Forecast

November begins tomorrow, the fall foliage is nearing peak and I can’t think of a better time to release my official 2021 – 2022 DC Winter Forecast.

Weak La Nina Conditions are Forecast to Prevail through the Upcoming Winter 

The blue colors off of the western coast of South America continuing westward along the equatorial Pacific represent cooler than average sea surface temperatures characteristic of La Nina conditions.  The forecast models (image below) continue to indicate that weak La Nina conditions should continue through  February 2022.

Not All La Nina Winters in Washington are the Same

Looking historically at weak La Nina winters (image below) the resulting seasonal snowfall amounts varied greatly.  This is because the strength of the La Nina is not the only variable that impacts the behavior of the jet stream, temperatures and resulting storm track.

There are many other very important teleconnections variables including:

Arctic Oscillation (AO)

Eastern Pacific Oscillation (EPO)

Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO)

North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)

Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

Quasi-biennial Oscillation (QBO)

For example just like the Summer of 2021, the Summer of 1995 had an active hurricane season and weak La Nina conditions dominated the following winter; In January of 1996 a blizzard struck the Washington DC Area dropping record snowfall amounts (2 to 3 feet) paralyzing the Mid-Atlantic region.


December 2021 through February 2022 Temperature Departures from Average:

Based on the ten historic analog years in the images below, overall winter temperatures across much of the Mid-Atlantic states from December 2021 through February 2022 may be 1 to 2 degrees below average.

December 2021 through February 2022 Precipitation Departures from Average:

Precipitation during the upcoming Winter season looks to be near to slightly below average across the Washington DC Region, with above normal precipitation in the mountains of WV, PA, NY and much of New England.

Now let’s break down the temperature and precipitation departure from average by month (December, January and February)

December Temperatures

December may be quite cold across the Mid-Atlantic with temperatures running 3 to 4 degrees below average.

December Precipitation

Precipitation across the DC Area looks to be pretty much near average and with cold air in place, I’m hopeful for a significant accumulating snow event to kick off the first month of “Meteorological Winter”.

January Temperatures

Temperatures in January may also end up below average by about 1 degree.

January Precipitation

Based on the historic analogs, precipitation in January looks to be near to slightly below average.

February Temperatures

Winter’s below-average temperatures in December and January may take a break during February, especially from the Tidewater of Virginia into the Carolinas.

February Precipitation 

The storm track may become most active from the Ohio Valley to New England in February, the Washington Area looks to have near normal precipitation with below average precipitation from Texas to the Tidewater of Virginia.

My 2021 – 2022 Winter Snowfall Forecast

Winter may get off to a fast start in December continuing through January with below average temperatures and near average precipitation increasing the odds for a significant winter storm.

Winter’s chill may take a hiatus in February across the eastern seaboard with near to above average temperatures and below average precipitation.