Outlook: Winter colder, 6 times snowier than last year

AccuWeather.com's U.S. winter forecast, highlighting predictions of temperature and precipitation trends. Last year, winter was unusually warm for much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Big snow events may return to a portion of the I-95 corridor of the Northeast.
AccuWeather.com's U.S. winter forecast, highlighting predictions of temperature and precipitation trends. Last year, winter was unusually warm for much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation. Big snow events may return to a portion of the I-95 corridor of the Northeast.
Posted: October 04, 2012

Expect temperatures 6 degrees colder than last winter's, and a six-fold increase -- or more -- in snowfall.

In short, if Accu-Weather's winter outlook turns out to be right, the coming season will be whole lot more like a typical winter than in 2011-12.

In the forecast released this morning, an update and elaboration of an earlier outlook, the commercial weather service in State College, Pa., is calling for near-normal temperatures this winter, with above-normal snowfall.

In addition, Accu-Weather believes Philadelphia will have an above-average number of days -- perhaps seven -- with snowfall of an inch or more, said long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok. Last season, it had exactly one.

The revised snow-outlook map sees the above-average snow zone extending from Philadelphia on south and west.

To the north, long-range forecaster Paul Pastelok says snowfall might not be terribly generous along the New England coast because Atlantic Ocean sea-surface temperatures up that way are well above averages.

But Pastelok cautioned that, in the early going, the atmosphere is full of riddles.

During the summer it appeared that the surface waters in the tropical Pacific were warming robustly toward El Nino conditions.

In an El Nino the heating of overlying air disrupts west-flowing winds that carry weather to North America. That can energize the storm track streaking across the southern United States.

For now, however, "It's a very weak signal," he said. "This one looks like it peaked out early."

Still, Pastelok says the region is likely to be affected by "bigger" and "wetter" systems than last year's.

"The eastern half of the nation didn't have much of a winter," he said.

That was no understatement. In Philadelphia, only 4 inches of snow fell as measured at the airport. that was about one-fifth of average, and winter temperatures were 6 degrees below normal.

The Climate Prediction Center's seasonal forecast, issued in mid-September, had a decidedly warm look across much of the nation for the winter.

It will be updated in a couple of weeks.


Contact Anthony R. Wood at 610-313-8210 or twood@phillynews.com

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