From Meteorologist Steve Glazier,
It's time to release the winter forecast for 2012-2013. I spent quite a while putting this together and I'll go back at the end of the season to see how well or poorly I did. I enjoy forecasting, certainly the instances that are challenging such as seasonal projections.
Here are my thoughts for what to expect this winter.
I expect the current trend of warmer-than-average weather to continue through the end of the year. In Burlington, temperatures have been warmer than average for a record-setting 18 consecutive months. All towns have not followed the same trend though, with many locations having a few months of below average temperatures embedded within that period.
The rest of October will conclude another warmer than average month for Burlington, then November and December will likely finish out this warm year on the same note. I estimate Nov./Dec. to be roughly 2 degrees warmer than avg for the respective months.
Heading into next year, temperatures will start to drop and snowfall will start to increase. Thus I'm expecting a late arrival of winter (in terms of the accumulating snow) but a steady Jan/Feb/Mar (close to avg those months). I expect three big snow storms, producing 12"+ for the Champlain Valley. In my opinion February has the best potential to be colder than average, breaking the streak of warm months in BTV.
Long story short I'm expecting slightly lower-than-average snowfall for the season, and slightly warmer than average winter. Again, a warm Nov-Dec followed by average or cooler Jan-Mar, below average for snow Dec, then at or above Jan-Mar.
I understand this is for one distinct area, in which a winter season can be totally different elsewhere in our viewing area. I am expecting a few big storms this year. That said, I think the ski resorts will have an average year. By average I mean +/- 5% of their annual snowfall. So if a resort gets an average of 300 inches of snow per winter, I'm expecting their snow total to fall between 270-330". Long story short, it will be better than last year! I have not gotten into the other regions (CT River Valley, NH, Adirondacks) for snow projections, perhaps I can do in the coming weeks.
Researching the records for snowfall in the Burlington area, I noticed a strong correlation between low snow years and the immediate year following. I looked at 16 snowfall seasons, where Burlington received 50 inches or less. Of those 16 years, only 1 year followed with even less snow. The other 15 seasons had greater snowfall the following year. Following me?
Example: Year 1 Year 2 Result
41" 67" +26"
I found that in the 16 seasons, the low snow year was followed by a +24.25" increase the next year. The highest increase season to season was +63", the lowest increase was +1", which does give a little uncertainty to how much we'll rise this year.
Burlington received 38" of snow (roughly) in 2011-2012. Similar events have happened a few times. I looked at two seasons which BTV had 38", and the next two years showed 61 and 67". I looked at two seasons which BTV had 40", and the next two years showed 65" and 77", which in my opinion is a pretty good correlation.
The big difference meteorologists are talking about this year is El Nino forming in the Pacific. Long-range forecasts are calling for a weak El Nino to form, which usually brings cooler, wetter weather to the Northeast. Last winter we had a moderate/strong La Nina, which usually brings drier, warmer conditions to the Northeast. I stress the word usually because it's never a guarantee.
So there you have it, feel free to leave comments or your thoughts on what the winter will bring us. I'd be glad to read them over.