As I typically do each year, I am sending out our Winter Weather Seasonal Forecast for the upcoming 2018-2019 winter season.
We employ what we call an organic forecasting approach to winter forecasting. We do not follow any particular forecasting model, but blend model forecasting with other factors such as ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) patterns, Solar energy patterns and prior analog years that show the same characteristics that are being exhibited during the current season.
We are currently in what is called a Central based El Nino. It is a weak El Nino, but is predicted to get stronger as we move through the winter months. A central based El Nino means that we expect to see a ridge (warmer temperatures) in the Western US and a trough (colder temperatures) in the Eastern US.
We are also in a period of low solar energy, in fact, the lowest period in 9300 years. This is what led to the coldest April on record this year followed by the warmest May on record. It also explains the very warm September and early October, then, with a “flip of a switch”, the cold temps we have experienced in the last week. With this period of low solar energy, it leads to the absence of high latitude blocking and allows colder shots of air to migrate into the Eastern US from Canada.
What does all of this mean? Well, in my opinion it will mean a cold winter, with backloaded winter weather events.
In regards to temperatures, we are confident that we will see average chances for above and below normal temperatures in December, followed by below normal temperatures in January and much below normal temps in February. The jet stream will be most active with the southern branch and the Tennessee and Mississippi Valley areas as well as the Mid-Atlantic states seeing an active winter with above average precipitation.
Since there is typically lower confidence in predicting precipitation in the winter, this is a “just for fun” exercise. Sometimes I look like a genius and sometimes I look like a fool, but here is my personal opinion for snowfall in Indiana:
In Northern Indiana, I believe we will see normal snowfall amounts near seasonal averages.
In Southern Indiana, I believe we will see above average snowfall amounts, mainly in the southern ¼ of the state.
In Central Indiana, we normally see 22” of snow in the Dec/Jan/Feb timeframe. Last year during the same period we saw 9”. I believe this year we will see in the neighborhood of 28” of snow.
Please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you would need any additional information.