Near to above average precipitation possible for central Ohio's winter


The coldest air of the season is here and that has many looking ahead to winter wondering what the coming months will bring to central Ohio. Before we get into the outlook, keep in mind that seasonal forecasting is notoriously difficult.

Throw into the mix the lack of El Nino and La Nina conditions and it’s that much harder. El Nino is a warming of the waters in the Equatorial Pacific and La Nino is when those same waters cool.

Both can affect winters in Central Ohio. Because we’re not seeing a strong signature of either, we can call this winter El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral.

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This means that smaller scale features like the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a disturbance in the Pacific moving along the equator; and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), which is tied to the pressure patterns in the North Atlantic, will have a larger role in affecting the coming winter.

This wouldn’t be an issue if these phenomena didn’t change on the order of a few weeks, making them quite variable.

Currently, the National Weather Service is calling for slightly above-average temperatures and above average precipitation for the coming winter.

The Farmer’s Almanac is calling for cold & snowy conditions. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is predicting slightly above to warmer-than-average temperatures with above average precipitation in the area.

Looking at the latest forecast models, it looks like the beginning of winter will be cooler than average. By mid to late winter, near to slightly above average conditions are expected to return with the usual cold snaps.

This would point to more cold intrusions of arctic air early in the winter before things moderate a little by winter’s end. Then, another cool down looks possible in the month of March.

It also looks like we’ll see near to above average precipitation. If that meets up with the cold air, that would mean more snow, which is why we’re expecting near to above average snow totals for the winter, we usually see 26.7’ in a typical season.

As mentioned, seasonal forecasting is very tough. It’s hard enough to make a call a week out much less a couple of months. But that’s how things stand now.

Keep checking back with the Doppler 10 Weather Team for any updates throughout the winter.