As we have mentioned, this is a different year with a new pattern that has not been seen in several years. This El Niño pattern overall will bring fewer precipitation opportunities and potentially more mild air. But the devil is in the details, so let’s dive in.
Decembers are not what they used to be. I could solidify myself as an old guy by saying, “when I was a kid…” But I think you have noticed it too—not much snow happens in December. We’ve had a few November snows in recent years, but December has generally come up short. This year is a little different. Based on current models and global trends, we should have a dramatic cold front on the move in the middle half of the month. It’s a front with some cold air, but also a precipitation chance. If this happens like the model are point to, then there is a possibility that there could be snow for Christmas. The climate trends only give us about a 20-30% chance of a white Christmas every year. But some years, a rogue storm can give a better chance. So this year may be our year.
Last year, December temperatures were all over the board, with some really cold days right before Christmas
This year, I think the first part of the month is warmer than normal, then there is a temperature drop for late month
December 2022 had some rain in the first half of the month, then some snow right before Christmas.
This year, I think we are mostly dry until a wave of cold brings rain and a chance of snow right before Christmas—or even on Christmas Day.
It’s pretty easy to say that January will be the coldest month of the winter. It always happens that way. Climate trends have the coldest average high temperatures in the first two weeks of the month. But the way this year’s pattern has been set up, there could be more cold and deeper cold. It appears it could come in waves—meaning — shots of cold and cold fronts dropping in from the north fast. Generally, this type of setup means that there will not be a lot of moisture to deal with. But there may be a couple of systems that move in a way to bring us the potential of some hefty snow.
Last January was warm for us. It began with the 60s and 70s at the beginning of the month, and we never really got cold until the end of the month. This year, I think we have the potential to be cold—and obviously much colder than last January.
Precipitation was mostly limited last January too, with our monthly snow total of 2.5” mostly coming on one day. This year will be different. More shots of cold mean more snow potential and more accumulations too.
By February, we are ready for winter to be done. I say this every year: It’s the shortest month, but it’s the longest month. It generally has more cloud cover, which doesn’t help. This year, the bulk of our winter snow will come in February. The new El Niño pattern will be almost realized, which will bring more snow chances. I am thinking three or four solid shots of accumulating snow are on the way for February. so get the shovels handy.
Last February was very mild, with only four days with any sign of winter cold. Temperatures in the 50s 60s and 70s ruled the month—pretty weird. This year is different—it’s just plain cold, with some shots of deep cold coming.
We only had a trace of snow in February 2023—amazing. This coming February will be snowier than that by a long shot.
Here is the winter bottom line: This winter has the potential to be snowier and colder than last winter, by a long shot.