Although there are conflicting predictions for the upcoming winter weather in our region, there is a consensus that Old Man Winter is expected to hold his grip through the season.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the coming winter will most likely be remembered for strong storms, bringing heavy rain and sleet to some areas and piles of snow to others.
Nevertheless, while the almanac is calling for frigid temperatures and raging storms in parts of the nation, it is forecasting a somewhat milder winter in western Pennsylvania this year, with “more wet than white” weather.
The almanac also notes that the wintry weather we will see heading further into 2020 may not relinquish its grip until well into March.
AccuWeather meteorologist Max Vido gave CookForest.com a different outlook for the upcoming winter months.
“The way things are shaping up, we’re expecting a winter that could be quite active with strong cold shots and a potential for stormy weather,” Vido explained.
“We’re really looking at a more traditional winter across the region. The axis of the colder air is in the midwest, but there will most likely be spillover throughout the winter into the Appalachians.”
According to Vido, colder than average temperatures throughout the western Pennsylvania region is anticipated, which could lead to a slight uptick in heating demand and cause some larger gas and electric bills for area residents.
Vido also noted that a higher than average total snowfall for the season is expected.
“It is looking like it may be an active lake effect season, as well.
“Areas to the north and west could see plenty of lake effect snowfall, and in terms of heavy snow events, we’re favoring late January to March for bigger storms that bring larger snowfalls and higher winds to the region.”
Vido added, “If you like winter weather, it could be a pretty good year with how it’s shaping up right now.”
Rich Redmond, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service Pittsburgh office, is currently taking a more cautious view.
“There hasn’t been an official forecast for the winter yet,” Redmond noted.
“The winter weather may really depend on what happens in December. Past winters similar to the patterns we’re seeing this year really seem to depend on how December shapes up.”
According to Redmond, slightly warmer than normal temperatures through December is currently expected.
“That doesn’t mean it won’t get cold,” he noted. “It just means the temperatures could average a bit warmer than usual.”
Redmond also noted that we’re currently in what is referred to as a neutral ENSO pattern. A neutral ENSO patter occurs when there is no El Niño or La Niña and ocean temperatures, tropical rainfall patterns, and atmospheric winds over the equatorial Pacific Ocean are near the long-term average and not playing havoc with global weather patterns.
“Usually winters during these periods see less than average snowfall,” he stated.
However, at this point in the year, that could all still change by the time the winter begins to set into the region.
“Really, it all just depends on how it starts,” Redmond said.
“I will say that the winters during these patterns that have ended up being cold and snowy were very cold and very snowy.”
“Just keep your eye on the weather in December and see what happens. That will be the biggest clue to what the expect for the rest of the winter.”