The return of snow this winter?

August 16, 2012

According to a forecast of the 2012-2013 winter, cities along the Interstate 95 corrido r — D.C. included — will get more snow than usual, with big storms expected in January and February. AccuWeather explains its prediction thusly:

The presence of El Niño or La Niña — and their strength — is used to project how active the winter season is going to be. AccuWeather.com Long-Range meteorologists are projecting a weak to moderate El Niño by the fall.

An El Niño pattern is classified by above-normal water temperatures in the central and equatorial Pacific Ocean. Warming the ocean water in turn warms the air above the Pacific, causing weather patterns to change globally.

El Niño winters feature a strong southern branch of the jet stream across the U.S. When the strong southern jet stream phases with the northern branch of the jet stream, big storms can impact the East.

Of course, this is merely a prediction, and they have the habit of being wrong — especially this far off. But should we get walloped the way AccuWeather is expecting, it’ll be a nice break from the 2011-12 winter, which was remarkable for its utter lack of snow, mild temperatures and fewer winter potholes.

Still, it’ll take a lot to best the epic winter of 2010 — repeated storms dumped over 54 inches of the white stuff on D.C. that year.

Martin Austermuhle blogs at DCist . The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.

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