TRI-STATE (WFIE) - Before looking ahead to what winter might bring in 2020, let’s first look at what happened last year.
We were in a period of weak El Nino. We had early snowfall in November, which was much cooler than average.
Temps bounced above normal December through February and then sank in March.
Only 8.8″ of snow fell, all of it in November, December and January with tiny amounts in February and March.
Chief Meteorologist Jeff Lyons thinks this year will bring a colder than average winter with above-average snowfall.
We have shifted from a weak El Nino to more of an El Nino neutral setup. This pattern favors colder air over the Great Lakes region while the stormy, active weather shifts more to the south.
Think back on the last 10 winters. Eight of them produced significant snowfall and seven of those produced above-average snowfall.
If we just look at the seven neutral winters that have occurred in the last 30 years, two of them produced lots of snow, two generated average snowfall and two underperformed.
Rainfall in the neutral winters tended to be heavier than average about half the time with the other half slightly below the norm.
Lyons says he is basing this winter forecast off of a few assumptions.
1) ENSO-Neutral conditions should favor cooler than average temps for much of the winter.
2) Four of the last seven neutral winters produced greater than average snowfall.
3) The neutral pattern seems to favor wetter than average weather.
Lyons thinks December will be colder than average and that we will see 4-5″ of snowfall possible. By January, he thinks temperatures will start to trend to near-normal. 6-8″ of snowfall would be in line with a typical January.
He also thinks February will warm a bit more and we may see 3-6″ of snowfall along with above-average rainfall.