Jordan Tessler, Capital Weather Gang intern who also runs the TerpWeather service, calculated snowfall amounts in all previous D.C. winters during which no snow fell in December. In the 18 other instances this has happened since 1872, D.C.’s winter snow averaged 11.5 inches, below the “normal” of 15.4 inches.
Of course, snow lovers shouldn’t be completely discouraged since 5 years still managed above normal totals, including the super snowy 1986-87 winter, when more than 30 inches fell.
Judah Cohen, lead seasonal forecaster for AER Inc., who favored a cold and snowy winter says it’s too early to throw in the towel. “I thought December was sort of going to be a write-off and it certainly was,” he said.
But Cohen thinks the weather pattern could still deliver cold and snowy conditions later in January and February. He says the polar vortex is going to split, which he says will increase the chances of wintry weather.
“The split is going to reshuffle the deck,” he said. “That kind of starts the wintry pattern for the Northern Hemisphere.”
Cohen cautioned not all polar vortex splits are created equal, and that it’s not totally clear if the split vortex will be optimally configured to direct frigid air towards eastern North America. “The models are having a really tough time,” he said. “There’s a lot of model uncertainty and spread.”
Matt Rogers, president of the Commodity Weather Group and forecaster for the Capital Weather Gang, says his company hasn’t shied away from the idea of a cold and snowy remainder of the winter.
“The odds shift towards improved snow and cold possibilities in January and especially February,” Rogers said. “”I think a weak-moderate El Nino is still going to deliver and February offers the best chance to do it”
But Dave Tolleris, forecaster at WxRisk.com, believes based on the forecast through mid-January, his winter outlook and those similar, can already be considered seriously flawed. “Yes, my winter forecast is busted,” he said. “I don’t think the first half of January is going to be great [for cold and snow].”
Tolleris emphasized, however, that periods of cold and snowy weather certainly remain on the table later in the winter.
“A busted winter forecast does not mean no winter,” he said. “There’s a difference between a busted forecast and no winter at all.”