NH1 News Debates


Sep 23, 2015 2:37 PM

Joe Knows: Winter outlook 2015-2016


CONCORD - As we turn the page to Fall, many of us are already wondering what this Winter will be like.
I will tell you right now, the good news it will be nothing like last year's historic winter. We can all thank the Super El Nino which has developed in the eastern equatorial Pacific.
This El nino is expected to be THE STRONGEST El Nino on record with similarities to the Super El Nino of 1997-98. When you look back upon that winter here in Concord, NH we totaled 58.9 " of snow
The normal is approximately 61.4". Temperatures averaged a whopping 3-5 degrees warmer than normal that winter! So despite the warmth in the pattern, it was still a normal winter for snowfall, and that is exactly what I am expecting this year!
But every season has it's only personality. No season is the same.
There are other variables in play when you look at where the warm and cool water is currently set up around the globe.
These water temperatures are critical and help to provide clues to what the actual weather set up will bring down the road. Not only do we see a super strong El Nino, but look at the incredibly warm temperatures along the west coast of North America! This tends to make for an upper level ridge to form in the western half of Canada and the western United States with warm dry conditions.
As we go deeper into the season, the warmer air from the Pacific will drive farther north and bring warmer than normal temperatures across most of the northern United States.
Meanwhile, strong El Ninos tend to make an energized strong subtropical jetstream which introduces significant moisture and increased storminess across the southern U.S. and potentially up the east coast! Most of the models we look at are now seeing this wet cool pattern across the southern states. It could become an ugly winter for those seeking refuge in Florida. Where does that leave New Hampshire? Somewhere in between.
We will not get through this winter completely unscathed!
The chances are increasing for a few significant east coast storms because of the warm water temperatures along the eastern coastline of the northeast extending Nova Scotia!
If this warm water holds, it is likely to coastal storms will become stronger as they track northeast and feed off of the warm water with increased evaporation, more moisture and stronger storms.
Another thing we will be watching is the cool water in the North Atlantic.
This could help to create atmospheric blocking, which slows down the Jetstream, introduces more buckling and troughs and the potential for more storms and colder air to be reintroduced into the pattern. While a good chunk of the winter will be fairly tranquil with less blocking, there will be moments where we may wonder to ourselves..."Where did El Nino go?"
Moral of the story, it this winter will come with just about everything as usual.
While I do not think this winter will be as extreme, cold and snowy as the Farmer's Almanac recently proclaimed, it will have come with snow, especially the second half of winter once the Northern Hemisphere gets into the heart of the cold.
Again, the average seasonal snowfall for Concord is 61" of snow. I expect to be somewhere around that number when all is said and done...45-60" of snow seems like a good bet judging by the current set up. Temperatures will likely average on the warmer side with temperatures averaging about 1-2 above the average for the season.
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