Youngstown’s Winter Weather Outlook and Why We Should Be Cautious

Today the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association released their 2017-2018 Winter Weather Outlook. However, there are things that people need to understand before they go sharing this information.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 4.40.26 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-19 at 4.40.15 PMNOAA 2017-2018 Winter Weather Outlook

Predicting climate trends is very different than forecasting weather events. Weather prediction deals with exact numbers. Today’s high temperatures will be 74 degrees. Last night we saw .23 inches of rain fall. Climate forecasting does not deal in absolutes.

Climate predictions are calculated with probabilities. Notice that there is a 40 percent chance we will see an above average winter for precipitation. That still means there is a 60 percent chance this forecast could be wrong. Think about it.

As an example, meteorologists and climate scientists forecasted an above average snowfall last year but we barely hit the even point.

With all of that being said I do agree with this prediction because it takes the best information we have and shows the lack of confidence when it comes to this winter.

I am still expecting a favorable environment for lake effect snow this year. It has to do with La Nina. During the winters of 2010-11 and 2007-08 there was a strong La Nina in place. We are expecting to dip into La Nina again soon. On the other hand the rest of the years, rounding out the Top 5 snowiest, were during El Nino or Neutral conditions.

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 4.50.45 PM

I think we are going to be all over the place when it comes to temperatures. I expect there to be several cold snaps bringing us lake effect snow, but there is still a good chance to see the warm trend continuing overall.

This could be another year where the lakes do not freeze over. Depending on weather conditions, I think the environment will be favorable for several lake effect events. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an average snowfall this year. Even if the climate is right it still depends on the day to day weather conditions on what we’ll really experience.

So we’ll have to wait and see.

Let me know what your predictions are. Comment below!

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