NOAA favors warm winter for Washington, D.C., non-committal on snow

AccuWeather made a splash Wednesday when it released its winter outlook predicting big snows for the I-95 corridor. Not surprisingly, NOAA’s climate outlook for winter is much more conservative.


NOAA’s precipitation outlook for December (2012) through February (2013) (NOAA Climate Prediction Center)

ONCE EL NINO CONDITIONS ARE ESTABLISHED, THE EXTENSION OF THE SUBTROPICAL JET ENHANCES THE CHANCES OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS THE SOUTHERN CONTINENTAL US ..., AND INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND THE CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI AND OHIO VALLEYS.

NOAA does not make specific snowfall predictions.


NOAA’s temperature outlook for December (2012) through February (2013) (NOAA Climate Prediction Center)

TEMPERATURE OUTLOOKS ... SHOW INCREASED CHANCES OF ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ACROSS MUCH OF THE NORTHERN CONTINENTAL U.S. AND SOME AREAS WITH INCREASED CHANCES OF BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHERN CONTINENTAL U.S., DUE TO THE LIKELY INCREASING INFLUENCE OF EL NINO CONDITIONS

As for as snow in the Washington, D.C. area, usually warmer than average temperatures are not a good thing as they favor rain or mixed precipitation more than snow.

On the other hand, as we have said repeatedly in the past, because D.C.’s average area snowfall is relatively low (around 12-18”), it just takes one or two big storms to push us over the average - which is possible even in a warm winter.

Capital Weather Gang’s winter outlook will be issued this fall.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.

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