HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The National Weather Service posted a winter outlook in October that placed our region under the “equal chance” category for both the temperature and precipitation forecast.
Our viewers were quick to call the outlook “nonsense” and draw comparisons to the Farmer’s Almanac, which – in case you’re interested – shows ice cold, chilled-to-the-bone cold, numbing cold, and penetrating cold.
Not what you want to hear? Then perhaps the Old Farmer’s Almanac outlook is more for you: mild and snowy.
Our team of meteorologists is once again posting a winter outlook for the Midstate, and we’ll try to back it up with a little more science.
The National Weather Service outlook is similar to a pattern that favors La Nina, which is forecast to slowly develop over the central Pacific Ocean. This usually brings colder conditions to the northern U.S. and drier conditions to the southern U.S.
We feel a weak La Nina or neutral Pacific Ocean temperature have some influence on our winter weather, but several other factors will be used for our forecast. One of them is the larger than normal snow cover over Eurasia. Research has shown this could bring more cold periods for our region. Another factor is the warmer water over the Northern Pacific. This could lead to a warmer West Coast and cooler periods for us.
To wrap this up into a winter forecast for the Midstate, our weather team anticipates colder periods to happen more frequently this winter. Warm air will push from time to time, but the colder air will likely appear more often.
Of course, the cold is necessary for snow, but there really isn’t a clear signal to a snowy winter even if we have plenty of cold for it. For most of the winter, we expect a lack of an active southern jet stream, so most of our moisture would come from the north or west, which typically doesn’t bring big snowstorms.
So, we are calling for a near or below normal snowfall for the area. A normal snow season for us is about 30 inches.