NOAA releases Winter Outlook for 2021-2022 season

Weather Blog

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Every year NOAA (partnered with the National Weather Service) releases their predictions for the upcoming winter season. Will it be a warmer than average winter? Colder? Will we see more precipitation or less?

The prediction was released just this morning, and it may have a very similar feel to last winter. For the second winter in a row, the recurring climate pattern known as La Nina is set to continue into the spring of 2022.

Jon Gottschalck, chief at the Operation Prediction Branch of NOAA Climate Prediction Center states, “..these changes in the jet stream pattern result in a number of temperature and precipitation impacts that average over many events, and result in a number of factors…”

These factors for our winter here in Western New York consist of seeing above average precipitation, and warmer than average temperatures, which can open the opportunity for storm systems to contain not just snow, but a mix of sleet and freezing rain too. 

According to Jon, it’s not just the overall temperature trends that have an effect on how much snow we could see in the northeast, but also where the storm comes from and evolves to. He states, “For La Nina, the storm track is typically more often than not a little bit further to the west as compared to climatology, and so some of those storms will have more warm air available to them on the coast… and a wetter signal across the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes which is why we have that area favored…”

Always remember that these winter outlooks are probabilistic in nature, which means other outcomes are possible, but less likely to occur. When making climate sensitive decisions, it’s important to have an understanding of the possibilities that can unfold.

“This outlook supports everyone from local and state governments that must plan for public needs this winter to large and small businesses as they determine how the winter could impact transportation market demands with business services and prices.”

The outlook runs from December 2021 through February 2022 with the intention of providing communities the best possible scientific prediction on how the winter will unfold, so we can be more ready and resilient to extreme weather and climate events when they occur.

So, for those of you keeping track, winter is just 61 days away. That means we’ll be ditching the sunglasses and getting our shovels and scrapers out in anticipation for the winter ahead.

~Meteorologist Christine Gregory

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