Winter is just around the corner and everyone is wondering what's it's going to be like in December, January, February and even in to early March.
We haven't seen much snow in the past couple of years, but we did get quite a bit in 2011. That January, we had more than 8 inches and during that whole season, we had about 13 inches of snow.
When trying to predict what the weather will be like this season, one of the first things we start to look at is sea surface temperatures. We see a weak El Niño forming out in the Pacific Ocean. In the Atlantic Ocean, we see warm water, cold water then warm water and that has an influence on the jet stream across North America and Europe. The European model is a really good model and it also shows a weak El Niño in the Pacific Ocean.
We also have to look at temperature patterns here in the Tennessee Valley and across the country. Last month, our temperatures were pretty close to normal, but it was much colder than normal out over the northern Plains and the Midwest. When we look back at past years when the pattern was similar, the Tennessee Valley temperatures were just a bit below normal while the real cold air was father off to the north.
One wild card we need to watch is the volcanic activity near Kamchatka, off the coast of Siberia in Russia. If it continues, that will cool the atmosphere and affect the jet stream, but that's a wildcard and is hard to forecast.
Now, here's what I think will happen in the Tennessee Valley this winter.
We will be just a little below normal right. Farther north, it's going to be much below normal. And the thing everyone really wants to know is what's going to happen with the snowfall. If the jet stream pattern goes as I think it will, the strongest part of the jet stream will be just to the north of us, but close enough to us that we could have above normal snowfall, especially north of Chattanooga. Normally, we have about four to five inches. We may get six to seven inches this year, especially north of the City.