The second half of winter was one for the record books. I, for one, hope that we never see another month like February 2015 in Southeastern New England. The snow was remarkable, and the cold was unbearable. Here we are on the cusp of another winter, and, just like last year, there is no sign of winter-like weather at the start of the season. The first two to three weeks of December are likely to be much warmer than normal, and possibly snow-free, in Southeastern New England. You may remember similar weather last December, when the temperature was a few degrees warmer than normal, and there was less than an inch of snow in the Providence area. There were some wild temperature swings in the first three-plus weeks of January, but not much snow. Then, late in the month, all hell broke loose, and we know what happened in February and March.
I see this winter following a similar pattern as far as the winter being back-loaded with the lion’s share of cold and snow after mid-January. As for it turning brutally cold like last winter, I don’t expect a repeat performance, but I expect the winter to trend colder, and February/March may be colder than normal. This may come as a surprise to some, but the last two winters have both been colder than normal in Southeastern New England. I expect this winter to be milder than both of those, but not extremely warm. By March 1, I think the temperature will average pretty close to normal over the previous three months.
An El Niño usually brings an active storm track to the Southern United States, and we are already seeing evidence of that. A relatively dry fall will transition to a wetter than normal winter in Southeastern New England. In December, while it’s wet, it will likely not be very white. Think of last winter which saw 150% of the normal precipitation, but little snow. I don’t think this December will be that wet, but there should be at least the normal amount of precipitation.
Snow-fall wise, it’s a tough forecast. Because the pattern will be stormy, there will be many chances for snow, but the storm track, at least in December, is not favorable for snow. That track should shift farther east, and I expect near to above normal snow – closer to the winter of 2013-14 than last winter. Check out the video for more!
Of course, dating back to my days at ABC6, I offer a couple of “shot in the dark” forecasts for a white Christmas and a big snowstorm totaling more than 12″ in Providence. This year, I don’t see a white Christmas for Southeastern New England. However, with such an active storm track, I think there’s a better than normal chance of getting a storm that produces at least a foot of snow. We’ll vote yes for that, and I look forward to whatever weather heads our way in the next few months!