It is no secret that snow has been hard to come by so far this winter. December is running a few degrees warmer than normal, and all the big storms have been all rain. So far this month, there has only been 0.9″ of snow at TF Green Airport. The normal snowfall for the month to date is 7.1″. There may not be any snow for the rest of the month, and that will place this December as the 16th least snowiest since 1904. Although it’s a limited sample size, a non-snowy December does not bode well for snow for the rest of the winter. The last time there was less than an inch of snow in December was in 2011, and the winter snow total was only 17.8″ – about half the normal amount.
Of the 15 Decembers with less than 1″ of snow in Providence, only two have been in winters where the seasonal snow total was above normal. In 1934-35 there was 35.5″ of snow, and in 1957-58 there was 38.9″ of snow. The normal snow total for Providence is just under 35″. 10 out of the 15 winters with non-snowy Decembers have had less than 18″ of snow for the season. So, for snow-lovers, this winter is not looking good based on observations from the past 110 years. It’s also not looking good for our winter seasonal forecast of 100-150% of the normal snow in the Providence area.
However, just because the odds are stacked against a shift to a snowy pattern, that does not mean it cannot happen. There are signs that the storm track will remain active in January, and a couple of big storms could put a serious dent in the snow deficit. It’s unlikely, though, that a big snowstorm is coming in the next 10-14 days. It will turn colder next week, but the pattern will likely be dry through the New Year into next weekend. There is a good chance of a storm next weekend, but it looks like it will bring mainly or all rain to Southeastern New England. After next weekend, the pattern is uncertain. I think there is a good chance of more stormy weather between January 6-10, and there may be enough cold air around for at least some wintry precipitation.