Chris Bailey's winter forecast: more snow, colder temperatures

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Get the gloves and snow shovels ready.

WKYT chief meteorologist Chris Bailey's forecast for the winter of 2012-13 suggests central and eastern Kentucky will see a colder and snowier one than last winter.

While the average winter temperature in Lexington is 34.9 degrees, Bailey expects this winter looks to be slightly colder than normal with an overall temperatures of 32 to 24 degrees.

"The winter pattern I see setting up suggests frequent cold shots with at least one below zero day is likely," said Bailey. "On the snowy side of winter, thing look much better than last year. Fourteen inches is a normal amount of snow and this year should feature 14 to 20 for Lexington."

Bailey expects most of the snowfall to come from several light snows. "But we are long overdue for a big storm," said Bailey. "My snow map for the rest of the region shows the typically higher amounts across eastern and southeastern Kentucky. I expect much of the snow to occur from mid-January into February."

Two years ago was one of the snowiest winters on record while last winter one of the mildest.

"From the march tornadoes and record summer heat to an historic October snowstorm, our weather has forgotten what normal is all about," said Bailey.

One of the main drivers of the weather in the United states is the Pacific Ocean, specifically the waters near the equator where sea surface temperatures are running in a neutral phase and threatening to warm enough to be considered a weak El Nino. "The weaker the signal coming from this region, the more importance is placed on our next factor: high latitude blocking," said Bailey.

Bailey and WKYT's team of meteorologists will also be keeping their eyes on three areas this winter: an area near Greenland, an area near the North Pole and a very strong blocking high pressure near Alaska's Aleutian Islands. "These have been very common so far this fall and I would expect this trio to make routine appearances during the upcoming winter," said Bailey. "Any combination of the three can dislodge cold air from Canada and send it southward into the states."

According to Bailey, another factor is the increased amount of snow cover across the northern hemisphere which is above normal for this early in the season.

"Finally, I like to watch how the local fall pattern unfolds," said Bailey. "This fall has been a very cold one in Kentucky and featured the October snow for many areas. Similar falls to the one we are wrapping up went on to produce cold and snowy winters."

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