By Terry Eliasen, Meteorologist, WBZ-TV Exec. Weather Producer

BOSTON (CBS) – Mark another month off the calendar in the “winter” of 2011-2012.

How do you like winter in Washington D.C.?

This winter in southern New England has been just about what “normal” is for the nation’s capital.

By the end of January, Washington D.C. normally has about 8 inches of snow.

Boston so far this season has 7.8.

Check: Current Conditions | Weather Map Center | Interactive Radar

Our temperatures this winter have also been well above normal and quite comparable to a winter in D.C.

The normal daily average temperature in D.C. for December and January: 40 and 36 degrees.

Our average this year for those two months: 40 and 34 degrees.

In fact, January 2012 was 4.9 degrees above normal (ranking as the 17th warmest January on record), this was the seventh straight month with above normal temperatures dating back to July of 2011.

Some more interesting snowfall stats:

This January we had 6.8 inches of snow, the least snowy since January of 2007 when we had just one inch.  We finished that season with only 14.9 inches of snow.

In a “normal” season Boston has just over 21 inches of snow by the end of January.  Our 7.8 inches puts us 13 below that average.

Last year by the end of January we had 60.3 inches already – an amazing contrast.

There have been 14 years in recorded history with 7.8 inches of snow or less by the end of January.  The final season snow total for those years ranged from 9 inches in 1937 to 53.8 in 1969.  The average final snow total in those winters is 22.7, about another 15 inches through February and March.

So is that what we should expect – another 15 inches or so this winter?

The answer is most likely yes.

There are signs that a flip in the pattern across the United States is about to happen.

Check out the latest 8-to-14 day forecast and you will see temperatures are forecast to be generally below average in most of the eastern half of the country and above normal in the west and Alaska.

That’s something we have not seen much at all in the past several months.

Another big factor is something we call the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation).  This is a measure of the “blocking” in Northern Latitudes, up near Greenland.

When you have a negative NAO, that means lots of blocking, which in turn sends cold air southward from Canada into New England.

This was the main reason for our snow blitz last year.

The NAO has sort of been threatening to go negative for a while and if you look at this projection you will see that over the next few weeks it is right on the cusp of dipping into negative territory.

In summary, there is plenty of winter left.

Boston averages nearly 20 inches of total snow in the months of February and March.

And all it takes is one or two big ones (Nor’easters) to make it look and feel a lot more “normal” around here.

So maybe, just maybe, our Washington D.C. winter will turn into Boston winter before all is said and done.

You can follow Terry on Twitter at @TerryWBZ.

Comments (12)
  1. not4nothin says:

    Only in New England (or Boston media) does this “hopefulness” occur. Yeah, folks that need to get back and forth to work get it, it’s winter here and we usually have snow and cold. Right…snowlovers, skiers, and landscapers (plow service) like to see plenty of white stuff falling from the heavens this time of year….but I have had a much easier time commuting and getting where I need to go, heck even parking lots are easier to navigate this year!!
    So what? We are having a light winter, equivalent to Washington D.C. u say!? I’ll take more of the same winter we have now….keep watching and waiting for that NOA negative to occur. Nature does what nature wants to do and the trend this year is less winter…time is running out, no matter what we get now!!

  2. Stuart Cleinman says:

    I have been predicting the following for fifteen years. There will be a major snowstorm sometime between April 1 and April 7 of this year. Thiis is due to the fact that every 15 years since my birth, there has been a major snowstorm around or on my birthday (April 7). When I turned 15, there was a storm on my birthday; when I turned 30, there was on on April 6; when I turned 45, there was one on April 1. I am about to turn 60 and the storm will come.

    1. jukeboxer says:

      Stuart- so you seem to think that this possible coincidence is predictable, even definite? It seems to me that it has more to do with the persistence of polar air around this region of the Northeast even when we are in april. We have had many snowfalls in early April for the 50+ years I’ve lived here…..yeah, it is likely will will get snow between 4/1-4/7 but it isn’t just a 15 year interval event…it is more like 3 out of 5 times during the month of April we will get snow. We had snow flurries the day I got married in mid-April ’89…..

    2. Lisa Beth says:

      I was going to wsh you a happy birthday, but now I m not so sure…

  3. Jolene says:

    We just moved to Boston from Southern California in the fall and began to prepare ourselves for our first “real” winter but instead find that this is all the winter that we get!!

    We call home to CA and find that many of our nighttime temps this winter have been maybe only a few degrees colder than back home!

    We were excited for a real winter and are bummed that it’s not that much different from where we lived in the foothills of CA.

    I know most native Bostonians are loving the mild temps and clear, snow-free streets but coming from a place where the only way we get to see the white stuff is when they blow it out of machines on our ski slopes, I was looking forward to a White Christmas and now, just ANY white will do!

    It’ll be spring before we know it and the idea of missing my first REAL winter alltogether is just far too depressing!

    So bring on the seasons Boston, this California girl is itching for it!

    1. hopeimwrong says:

      jolene, hang on. Feb, march and april have been some of the snowyest
      months on records. we are not done with the snow by any means

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