We are in the thick of winter outlook season, when media organizations and weather outlets release their predictions. Thus far, your favorite television meteorologists are all forecasting a colder and snowier winter than we had last year — which is consistent with Capital Weather Gang’s own outlook, issued last week.

But considering it was 6 degrees warmer than normal and only 3.4 inches of snow fell in Washington last winter, forecasting a colder and snowier winter isn’t saying much. The question is: How much colder and snowier? And that’s where forecasts diverge.

Chief meteorologist Doug Kammerer at NBC4, meteorologist Mike Thomas at FOX 5, and chief meteorologist Topper Shutt at WUSA9 have all released their predictions. Of these three outlooks, FOX 5 and Kammerer have the snowiest predictions, predicting amounts around 15 inches — close to average. But Shutt is predicting a little less.

All three of these outlooks are calling for slightly above normal temperatures.

For simplicity, here’s a summary of the three outlooks, as well as the Capital Weather Gang’s:

Looking at these predictions together, they are remarkably similar — despite the minor differences in snowfall totals. Either D.C.-area meteorologists will all be on the money or will be wiping the egg off their faces come springtime. Only one TV station weather team in the market has yet to release its outlook, ABC7. Maybe it will break the mold.

The rationale for these various outlooks is also quite consistent:

  • Kammerer’s outlook says: “This year, we are in a weak La Niña, meaning waters in the Pacific are cooler. This has a large impact on weather around the globe and normally gives us average or above average winter temperatures and slightly below normal snowfall.”
  • Thomas’ outlook says: “[T]emperature-wise nationally we are leaning towards cold-focused through the Upper Midwest with above normal temperatures focused in the Southeast and Southwest, a pattern very that is very typical of La Niña . . . La Niña winters tend to have more of an inland storm track that brings the best snowfall to the interior as opposed to coastal storms that bring the big snowfall events to the I-95 corridor.”
  • Shutt’s outlook says: “With a weak La Niña comes below average snowfall throughout the entire Metro area . . . Also with a weak La Niña winter, we should see slightly above average temperatures.”

The outlooks include a few specific predictions, which will be interesting to track:

  • Kammerer predicts the first half of January will be “deeply cold.”
  • Thomas also predicts January to be the coldest month compared with the average (as does the Capital Weather Gang) and predicts above normal odds of an ice event. While he says “a big snow is not favored this year,” he is calling for “1-2 snow events of 4 to 8 inches.”
  • Shutt says no White Christmas this year, and that the first inch of snow won’t fall until Jan. 26.

Below, for reference, find the winter snowfall map from Kammerer, Thomas and Shutt, as well as the Capital Weather Gang.

Doug Kammerer — NBC4

Mike Thomas — FOX 5

Topper Shutt — WUSA9

Capital Weather Gang

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