Well for the snow lovers out there the news you have been waiting for is…
Well not good.
NOAA have recently gave their thoughts on the upcoming winter of 2018/19 and with a strong El Nino likely a warmer than average winter is expected.
So what is El Niño?
El Niño and La Niña are opposite phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. In layman’s terms, the ENSO cycle is a scientific study of the temperature fluctuations between atmospheric and ocean temperatures in the central Pacific. Of these two phases, La Niña is considered to be the cold phase of the ENSO cycle, and El Niño is considered to be the warmer phase. While both phases occur seasonally, historically El Niño is more likely.
When it comes to the winter weather forecast for the 2018-2019 season, the NOAA has reported that there is a 70% chance that we will have an El Niño winter season, meaning early predictions call for a warmer than average winter across the United States.
What does this mean for early winter?
Based on the early prediction for an El Niño winter, the NOAA has predicted that the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Rockies will all see below average to equal chances of precipitation from October through December. However, Colorado, parts of Utah, and the Southern Rockies are all expected to see above-average precipitation for the start of the season. New England is expected to see average precipitation throughout the start of the winter.
While precipitation is expected to fluctuate across the country, the El Niño prediction calls for warmer than average temperatures across the entire country from October through December.
What does this mean for mid-to-late winter?
As winter progresses into January through March, most resorts across the entire country are forecasted to see continued equal to low precipitation averages. However, parts of Alaska and the Southern Rockies are expected to see higher than average precipitation in the second half of the winter.
When it comes to the temperature, the entire country is expected to see warmer than average temps continuing throughout the second half of the season.
Can we trust this early forecast?
While predictions for low precipitation averages and warmer temperatures are undoubtedly startling for all of the powder chasers among us, it’s important to remember that this early forecast is just that, an early forecast. When it comes to on-hill conditions, individual storm cycles and short-term predictions are far more likely to accurately forecast conditions than anything months out.
Long story short? It’s far too early to make any definitive call, and while the early predictions don’t look great, there is really no telling what the season will bring. Make sure to check back in the coming months for both the Farmer’s Almanac and Old Farmer’s Almanac weather forecasts, as we will be updating you on every early season prediction as they become available.