With weeks and weeks of weather boredom we were talking in the weather center yesterday about the Blizzard of 2013. Our thundersnow reminiscing during August is a clear sign that we need some weather excitement in our lives!
Naturally, one has to wonder what the upcoming winter season will bring to Connecticut. If you love winter cold and snow you may be in luck! Of course, all 6-month forecast caveats (and there are many) apply here.
The main driver of the global circulation is frequently the El Nino-Southern Oscillation. Locally, there is a correlation between ENSO state and the amount of snow we get in a winter. Generally, a strong La Nina or very strong El Nino is bad for snow-lovers. A weak/moderate El Nino is generally most favorable for a snowier than average winter.
Presently, above normal sea surface temperatures are present in the equatorial Pacific and the Climate Prediction Center gives El Nino a 2 out of 3 chance for developing by early winter. Additionally, they say a strong El Nino is unlikely. That’s good news!
At least for the time being, a warm pool of water in the Gulf of Alaska is also present. If this can have some staying power a -EPO is favored which can really help deliver the cold (EPO is a better predictor of temperature in southern New England than the famous NAO). This can certainly change quickly but at least for now it’s a welcome sign.
Of course, a lot can change. Long range forecasting is exceptionally challenging and can be wildly inaccurate. That said, there is some skill (i.e. better than chance/climatology) in picking out global signals that have a correlation to local weather variables (seasonal snowfall, precipitation, temperature, etc.). We’re only a few months away from waxing our skis and heading north – let’s cross our fingers for a big winter!