Happy Monday! While it wasn’t quite a winter wonderland, some of you received your first measurable snow of the season this morning! The average first snow (0.1″ or more) is later in December or even January in our area, so we’re a little ahead of schedule this year.
In case you missed it, Your Local Weather Authority is forecasting BELOW average snowfall this year in Southwest and Central Virginia.
Before I get to the seasonal snowfall projections, I want to start by explaining a few factors that are influencing this year’s forecast, like La Niña and Siberian snow cover.
One thing to look at closely is the El Niño Southern Oscillation. This year, we are dealing with La Niña conditions, which are described as cooler than average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Perú.
In the Southeastern United States, we usually experience warmer and drier conditions during a La Niña winter. Wetter (or snowier) than usual conditions are expected in the Great Lake states and Pacific Northwest, while it may be cooler than average in the upper Midwest.
Our own research has shown us that 74% of winters during a La Niña year have brought us below-average snowfall; however, that’s not to say we won’t see any snow.