January-February-March Outlook (cross your fingers!)

Our busy (read snowy and cold) December weather has come and gone and the overall weather pattern has changed a bit since about Christmas.  Instead of snow making southern Plains storms, we’ve been experiencing more of a north flow and weaker, less snowy, Clipper type storms. 

The long range forecast models suggest a 37% chance for above normal temps, a 33% chance for near normal temps and a 30% chance for below normal temps for southern Wisconsin.  So far, so good.  Now….to precipitation.  The same models come up with “equal chances” for either average, above or below normal amounts of precipitation.  So, it’s hard to say one way or the other if we will end up with a repeat performance of last winter’s near record snowfall.  However, over the next 10 days or so we have a couple of weaker storms that may bring a few inches of snow and a couple of cold snaps, but-we don’t see any major storms or big snow makers.

You may recall last winter we had a moderate to strong La Nina in place.  Climate scientists believe when a La Nina condition is present in the Pacific it can lead to increased snowfall for the midwestern U.S and the Ohio Valley.  The La Nina persisted until late spring when conditions became more neutral over the Pacific.  Just in the last month La Nina has begun to reappear in the Pacific.  Oh great.  Another La Nina…..another whopper winter???  It’s hard to say.  Wisconsin has never had back to back winters of near or more than 100 inches of snow.   But, it is certainly possible. 

We’ll be watching the evolution of the La Nina episode underway and keep you in the loop.  Sally Severson/Meteorologist

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