Every year with the first cold snap of the season we begin to wonder what kind of Winter to expect. Will it be cold, snowy, dry, or above average?
There's many sources of information when it comes to making a long range Winter forecast. The best indicators are global patterns and the most influential is the El Nino Southern Oscillation. When sea surface temperatures in the Pacific near the Equator are warmer than average, its an El Nino phase. What we're experiencing now is a cooler phase, known as La Nina.
What usually happens with La Nina is above normal precipitation from November-January for the Ohio Valley to Northern KY. As far as temperatures, we can expect it to be warmer than average.
Joe Bastardi, a well known AccuWeather long range forecaster, says Kentucky will have larger than normal swings in temperatures from warm to cold days with normal precipitation. Our region will be a Winter battle ground.
The Farmer's Almanac which is said to be 80% accurate is calling for Winter to be colder and dryer than normal, the complete opposite of what we typically have during a La Nina event. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the Bluegrass should get it's first significant snow November 21-30th. And January will be cold with the snowiest periods from mid-January to mid-February.
In the end none of these three forecasts agree and we should be prepared for a little bit of everything. Several other sources say this Winter should be not as harsh as last Winter in which 49 states experienced snowfall.