Winter Outlook 2013 - 2014

Posted: October 17, 2013, 12:49 pm by ntroiano

Although the official start of winter is still over two months away, parts of the I-95 corridor could see the first flakes of the year a lot sooner than that. As previously mentioned in an earlier WeatherWorks blog, the last week of October promises to bring a much chillier and potentially snowy weather pattern to the region. Despite the warm start to the month, plenty of cold air has been building across parts of the Arctic Circle, including Siberia and Western Canada. In fact, the total area covered by snow and ice across the Northern Hemisphere is up to 6.5 million square kilometers - an impressive 1.25 million square kilometers above average.

Now that an abundance of arctic air is ready to be tapped, it's not surprising that a pattern change is looming. In fact, the latest guidance suggests colder air will invade the Eastern US within the next 5 - 10 days. The image below depicts forecast temperature departures for the United States centered on October 24th through the 30th from the American Model (left) and the European Model (right). Note how both models show an expansive area of cooler than normal readings across the Midwest and Northeast. Additionally, both images depict a highly amplified (wavy) pattern, with a large trough centered across Eastern North America. Based on this, conditions will not only turn colder, but should also become increasingly active. As a result, there is a heightened potential for a winter storm during this period, with the main threat window ranging from October 25th through November 8th.

The staff here at WeatherWorks is not taking this threat lightly. During the past couple of weeks we've been gearing up for the winter season. In addition to attending refresher seminars for our Certified Snowfall Totals service, the staff has been diligently working on updating forecast forms for our Winter Alert clients. As always, our Long Range Department has also been putting the finishing touches on the winter forecast, so without futher ado...

The 2013 - 2014 Winter Outlook

For those of you who are snow lovers, it looks like the early start to winter will be a short-lived one. Milder air is expected to envelop most of the Eastern Seaboard by the middle of November, with few additional chances for meaningful snowfall through the end of the month. More in the way of variable conditions are expected as we head into December, as the I-95 corridor should serve as the battleground between milder maritime air from off the Atlantic and colder Canadian air to the northwest of the region. While there should be several opportunities for snowfall across these locations, the area most likely to see the biggest risk for significant winter storms will be the Midwest.

By the time we head into January, the winter season should really start to ramp up and persist into most of February. A combination of favorable atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns along with support from several "analog" or "similar" years indicate that below normal temperatures along with a more active storm track will be the rule. This combination could set the stage for several big winter storm events up and down the East Coast, especially from late January into most of February. 

The following maps are based on a combination of the factors listed above along with both subjective and objective modifications to account for atmospheric teleconnection patterns. Below the maps is a list of take-away points for the upcoming winter. For a more detailed outlook, including a monthly breakdown, feel free to contact our Sales Department and find out about Winter Risk.


Expected Temperature and Precipitation Patterns:


- Cold Outbreak likely for the eastern-third of the nation from October 25th through November 8th...with a good chance for a pre-winter snow event

- Relatively cold conditions are expected in New England - with the greatest departures likely from mid-January through the end of the season

- Near to slightly below average readings for the Mid-Atlantic, overall - with colder fluctuations possible late in the year

- Much colder than normal conditions across the Midwest should persist for the better portion of the winter


- Becoming active across the Mid-Atlantic, Northeast and New England, especially during the second half of the season

- Best potential for significant or widespread snowstorm / nor'easter will exist from late January through most of February

- Very snowy across the High Plains / Midwest, with the potential for several big storms throughout the entire season

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