Near record warmth earlier this month in October, may have you wondering if winter will even show up this year!
Don't worry, the snow is coming. We may see snow flurries this weekend, and before long we will have to break out the shovels!
Three of the last five winters brought below-average snowfall, but that streak could come to an end this winter.
That first step in winter can often set the tone for the rest of the day. Of all the seasons, winter is the one that seems to require the most work -- shoveling and scraping and shivering.
An average winter brings around 41 inches of snow. This year, we should top that -- ending up around 47 inches, or nearly four feet.
But seasonal numbers are for the record books. Nailing down what will fall, when and how much has bigger impact on your day-to-day plans.
This winter looks messy, not one with snow on the ground for several weeks at a time. Look for big temperature swings with frequent shots of cold air, a few hits from the Polar Vortex and warm-ups.
Multiple rounds of snow, rain or a wintry mix could impact your day.
A few smaller systems should show up in November, but by late December it looks like winter will begin to pick up. January and February should bring our biggest snow totals and coldest temperatures.
The storm "track" will ultimately determine how much you'll see. Most of our snow should come from Alberta Clippers -- those 1-to-3 inch snowfalls that you can handle with a broom.
We could also get a bigger storm, something we haven't seen since February 2010.
Snow from Lake Erie will likely add to the totals until sometime after the New Year, and the rain/snow line will be a forecast headache again this year -- details that don't come into focus until a day or two before the storm hits.
Where it sets up will be the key to what falls. Southern storms can bring warmer air, and Pittsburgh seems to be the dividing line with points north staying colder for more snow, and points south near Washington warming up enough for rain.
The day-to-day winter weather we see and feel starts thousands of miles away and thousands of feet up in the atmosphere. Conditions around the globe help determine how much you'll shovel or scrape.
El Nino and La Nina ocean currents can help drive winter patterns. Since the past can help predict the future, we looked back at trends from the last 50 winter seasons to find clues for the winter to come.
The finer details with each storm won't show up until it develops, but some of our coldest, snowiest seasons came during neutral El Nino seasons -- something that's setting up again this year.
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