By now, most meteorologists who produce winter outlooks have released them. Along the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston, there’s a common thread: most forecasters are calling for above average snowfall and below average temperatures.
On the other hand, Capital Weather Gang’s outlook predicts slightly below average snowfall and slightly above average temperatures. So our outlook is a bit of an outlier. Only ABC7’s Storm Team and WUSA9’s Topper Shutt forecast slightly below average snow in outlooks I’ve reviewed (see summaries and videos below).
The reason many forecasters are expecting more snow and colder than normal temperatures stems from the fact they expect the negative phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) to dominate. When the NAO is negative, the jet stream dips over the eastern half of the U.S. alowing cold air to spill south from Canada. This pattern also favors storminess along the East Coast where the Arctic air clashes with the warmer water of the Atlantic.
We are not entirely convinced a negative NAO will dominate (and above average snow will follow even if it does) and our review of past years with similar atmospheric set ups to this one would suggest significantly above normal snowfall isn’t terribly likely.
Of course, as Matt Ross said when he wrote our winter outlook, such predictions are “low confidence.” And just one big storm could push D.C. into above average snowfall for the winter. It’s completely possible the past will not be a good guide to the coming winter and the other meteorologists will be right about a cold, stormy winter. We will see. One thing every forecast outlet - including CWG - seems to agree on is that it will be colder and snowier than last winter.
Now, here’s a round-up of some of the winter outlooks I reviewed, including four from Washington, D.C., and one each from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston.
D.C. winter outlooks
Our friends at Channel 7 produced two outlooks - one from Bob Ryan and a second from Doug Hill. But they are more or less consistent. Ryan is calling for a “near average to cold winter” with “near average snow” but “several chances of major storms.” Doug Hill said to expect “snowfall and temperatures to be near or slightly below the long term average”
NBC4 chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer sees elevated potential for coastal storms and predicts average to above average snowfall with 13-20 inches most likely. “A good number would be about 18 inches here in the D.C. metro area,” Kammerer said. His outlook did not include a temperature forecast.
View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.
The 9 Weather team did not issue a single consensus outlook. Instead, its three meteorologists each expressed their own ideas, but they’re pretty similar:
* Howard Bernstein predicts normal to slightly below normal temperatures and 15-20” of snow at Reagan National which is slightly above normal
* Erica Grow calls for 14-18” of snow at Reagan National which is normal to slightly above normal
* Topper Shutt forecasts average to below average temperatures and normal to slightly belw normal snowfall of 10-15” at Reagan National.
Other cities in the Northeast
Interestingly, as we work our way up the coast, the outlooks tend to favor a snowy winter in several cities to our north.
ABC2’s Mike Masco is predicting a colder than average winter and 24.5 inches of snow in the Charm City, which is 7 inches above average.
Meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz of the NBC affiliate in Philly says the city has a 70 percent chance of above average snow and a total of 30-35 inches but expects temperatures to be slightly warmer than normal.
Veteran forecaster Harvey Leonard says he is deferring to seasonal forecasting specialist Judah Cohen - who CWG profiled Wednesday - for his outlook ideas. He summarized them like this: “...as of now, expect a somewhat colder than average winter, with at least average snowfall, and possibly somewhat above average snowfall.”