First Alert Weather In-Depth: NOAA releases winter outlook

ROCHESTER, N.Y. Thursday morning, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, released its winter outlook.

Many factors play a role in the forecast and outcome of Winter, but one key piece is located well away from home.

“What we call the Southern Oscillation or the El Nino/La Nina cycle basically. It tends to show its hand the most in the Winter season in the Northern Season in terms of its effects on if Winter will be cold or warm or how wet or dry it will be.”

For the third straight Winter, the probability is high for La Nina to continue. This would only be the third recorded time in which La Nina has occurred for three straight winters.

The past two, the Winter of 1975-76 where Rochester recorded 86.2″ of snow and 2000-01 where the city recorded a whopping 133″. But La Nina does not always dictate a snowy storm track.

“We actually end up with more large-scale systems coming through the Central Great Lakes,” said Mike fries, a meteorologist with National Weather Service Buffalo. Which usually makes things a little wetter than normal. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will get more snow than normal in that regard.

“As far a lake effect goes, that is situationally dependent events,” Fries said. “All it takes is one or two bursts of cold air to move across the Great Lakes and you can get monster lake effect events and people remember it.”

So with all that said, La Nina will likely be a primary factor in this upcoming Winter. So, let’s get a look at NOAA’s forecast that came out this morning.

Starting with precipitation, you can see above-normal precipitation is expected for the Northwestern US as well as the Great Lakes. While drier than normal weather for the southern part of the nation.
In terms of temperatures though, it is looking cooler than normal for the northern part of the US with warmer-than-average temperatures expected just east of us for the I-95 corridor and down into the Southern US.

That’s a look at NOAA’s forecast for the Winter but coming up on Wednesday, Nov. 23, our First Alert Weather Team, including myself, will have our Winter Outlook as well as in-depth topics for the upcoming Winter.