Missing The Snow? Plenty Of Winter Left To Come

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.

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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.


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